Lay Down Your Sword Before Me
When the night raid upon Miraz' castle does not go to plan, it is King Edmund the Just who pays the terrible price.
Authors Note: I'll admit I struggled a lot with this chapter, mostly because it's such a different style of writing next to my earlier chapters. So, this is 'after'. Moreover, my writing is slower than normal since I only have limited movement in my right dominant hand which is most unfortunate.
Authors Note: (Chapter Finished) I feel quite sad now, now that I'm done I kind of feel like I've lost my 'baby'.
Disclaimer: I do not, nor will I ever, own the marvouslness that is C.S Lewis' universe, The Chronicles Of Narnia. I will never obtain such a thing and any plots or characters that one may recognise from the original author is not my own.
Chapter Eight: Epilogue - After.
Silence reigned between the two brothers as they stood on the train, swaying from side to side as they waited in front of the closed vehicle door. The girls had just left them, obviously reluctant as they tossed concerned glances to Edmunds pale and withdrawn features and bruise-ringed eyes, showing lack of sleep and thin body, showing neglect of nutrients.
Edmund had still not recovered from his capture at the hands of Miraz.
Shaking his head in a fruitless attempt to rid himself of such thoughts, Peter kept his gaze to Edmunds bowed head, blazer clad shoulders hunched in on themselves as Edmund attempted to make himself smaller and less of a target. Continuing to stare at his second youngest sibling, Peters eyes - keen as they were when they came to Edmund - picked up on the flash of shadow, curving around Edmunds slim neck, a horrid cut - swollen even with the use of Lucys cordial - marring the pale skin.
It made Peters heart ache.
No words were exchanged between them, but Edmund allowed Peter to wrap a steady arm around his thin shoulders and draw him closer to his warmth, letting his head tip sideways to land on Peters broad chest. Peter, worry still clear in his eyes, let his gaze drift downwards to land on Edmunds dark hair. Leaning down, he placed a chaste kiss to the top of Edmunds head.
"You're alright," Peter murmured quietly into the dark hair, his voice was thick and rough. "You're okay,"
Edmund, eyes shut and body trembling from cold, did not know whom Peter was trying to reassure; Edmund or himself but he allowed the flurry of chaste kisses to his forehead and crown. After barely managing to interact with Peter, the affections being bestowed upon him felt strange but was more than welcome.
The train came to a screeching halt and the folding doors in front of the brothers stuttered open. Keeping a tight grip on his younger brothers shoulders, Peter led them forward, stumbling from the train as they tried to keep contact.
A boy, red-haired and thickly built, stared at them in an odd manner. Peter, a smirk cross his face as Edmund buried deeper into him, folded himself across Edmunds shoulders, saying that yes, they were brothers and that they were as close as they seemed. With an amused glint in his blue eyes, the boy gave a smile before moving on as the Pevensie Brothers made their way from the train station.
Their school was just across from the train sation, Peter and Edmund - still maintaining the contact that Peter knew Edmund so deeply craved even if his heart hurt as he took in his brothers shivering form - hurried across the road, stepping to and fro as cars raced back and forth in a bid to get where they were going, blending in seamlessly with the others whose loud voices and pushing bodies jostled the Pevensies in such a way that Peter let out a savage sound somewhere between a growl and hiss at the boys whom jeered at Edmund.
"I never did like them," Edmund said plainly, straightening up and swiping his hands down his Blazer to get rid of non-existent wrinkles. His tone was sad, he had been positively beastly before Narnia. When he had returned, intelligent, confident, thoughtful and quiet and sombre in a way that they didn't understand, his old 'friends' had not taken his rejection and refusal in a kind manner; the only reason they were no longer physically beating and berating him was because of Peter, whom had threatened to punch the ringleader in the face.
Everyone knew not to mess with Edmund unless you wanted to get in trouble with Peter.
But that had been in the first few months of being back from Narnia, after that Peter had seemed to get out of control and had lashed out at everyone and anyone, his knuckles had been in a constant state of pain bruised and ran ragged as he delved straight into the rage in his heart. Edmund had bore a bruise upon his left cheek for days after their first fight.
"I never knew why you consorted with them in the first place, to be honest," Peter observed, casting a light glare at a boy who had shouldered past Edmund rudely as he attempted to rush into the dorms.
Edmund, guilt in his eyes and in his heart, turned his head.
Despite having an even three-year gap between their ages, Mrs Pevensie had managed to get the brothers a dorm room together; it had not been a pretty sight when Peter would go into one of his sublime rages and Edmund would have to escape from his own room.
With a tired sigh, Edmund flung himself on the neatly made bed his head just beneath his pillow. Peter, laughing, watched as Edmund sighed before dropping oto his own neatly made bed.
The atmostphere changed, there was nothing to distract them now and their thoughts went rampant.
"Ed?" Peter enquired as he sat on the edge of the mattress. Edmund, face drawn, turned to him, an eyebrow raised. "It's after,"
The stark change in Edmunds features was as terrifying as it was comical.
"Ed?" Peter asked again, voice tight with concern. He had not seen Edmund like this since five years into their reign - where Edmund had been captured and Peter had tried to barter for his release with his own life. It had not worked - and the fact that such few words could bring such an expression to such a usually stoic persons face was far too worrying. Peter, concern holding his heart and panic gripping the edges of his mind obdurately, frowned heavily.
"I-I do not wish to talk," Edmund said, voice trembling as he made to turn his back on his elder brother.
"Oh, Ed," Peter sighed sadly, an arm sliding through the air to clutch at his brothers shivering shoulder. Slipping of the bed, Peter kneeled upon Edmunds at the foot of it to draw Edmund into his chest. His heart churned with a pained twang when Edmund only let a choked breath that sounded too much like a muffled sob for Peters comfort. He did not react when he felt weak hands push at his chest.
"I'm sorry, Edmund," Peter said quietly as he rested his cheek against Edmunds forehead. "I've been absolutely beastly to you, even before Narnia - especially before Narnia! and I only got worse," He shifted them both, so Edmund was in his lap and Peter was lounged against the wall beside Edmunds bed. "I had this idiotic competion going on with Caspian whilst I should have been paying attention to the girls, to the Narnians. To you. Than with the raid and it all went pear-shaped and you got captured - "Here, Peter broke off, voice watery as his eyes grew wet and stormy. "And it was all my faul-"
"No it wasn't!" Edmund attempted to intercept, but Peter - guilt heavy in his heart and in his mind - barrelled on as everything came spilling from his lips. "And everything I did! Nothing came to light and I worried and I worried, thinking the absolute worse and than the duel! That usuper had nerve to do that you brother! I was all my fault and the consequences were staring me straight in the face and I could do nought to help you because that dastardly Miraz and Sopespian had ordered crossbows upon you!"
He could continue no further, his face collapsed with tears and his voice broke completely and Edmund could no nothing but hold his brother whom had buried his head in Edmunds hair and attempt to keep his own tears from falling. To think, Peter had held this much guilt, this much blame over something that was Edmunds fault. To think, Edmund had let this fester and fester like a poisonous wound until it all gew to much and Peter exploded when it should have been Edmund.
Eyes undeniably wet, Edmund slipped from his brothers lap making the eldest Pevensie child look at him in confusion through tear stained eyes. Kneeling upon the floor, despite the twinging pain in his knees and back, Edmund found himself easily reverting back into Olde Narnian speech-patterns.
"I am sorry, my king, my liege," Edmund said, voice quiet and he bowed low in front of Peter. "I have led you falsely to believe that my capture was your doing. You should know that it was my foolish mistakes that cost me my freedom and had me cast into Miraz' prison. It was my own arrogance in my abilities that led to my capture and I shall hear no more talk of it being my lieges fault when it was nought but my own," Here, still deeply entrenched in a warriors mind frame, Edmund bowed low, shaping the back of his neck, making it vunerable to attack should Peter choose. "I am at your mercy, My High King,"
Peter sat, stark pale with quivering hands as he gazed, surprised, incensed incredulous, at his brother. With grief and stress alive in his eyes, his hands shot out to grasp Edmunds shoulders, heaving him up and forward to crush the eleven year old to his chest. Edmund let out the slightest of squeaks as he was compressed tightly to his elder brothers broad chest, Peters shoulders curving around the boy as if too protect him from a non existent threat.
"Oh-what have I done to you, Ed?" Peter whispered glumly, his oceanic eyes turmoiled as he clutched his brother to his body. What had happened to them? What had happened to make him so beastly and Edmund so broken?
"You have done nothing, brother," Edmund stirred, face tear stained as his back twinged in pain; but he did not move. They stood there for a moment, Peter towering over Edmunds much to thin dark-haired and pale form. Edmund clutching the back of Peters school shirt, wrinkling it as he fisted it tightly.
"And that is precisely why!" Peter hurried, voice drawn and tight. Edmunds heart ached.
Feeling his eyes grow wet, Edmund hid his head into Peters chest, his eyes tightly shut against the white, heavily starched fabric that itched madly. By the stars, did his heart ache. For everything he had done, for everything he hadn't done and for everything that could have been done better. It all came down to Edmund being to weak and cowardly, he was the one that had gotten captured, thus his ability was simply not as it was.
"Don't think like that!" Peters loud voice rung through the air like a seige weapon. "Aslan did not think you weak, nor do I! You are Edmund Pevensie, King Edmund, rather! And you have proved yourself more times that necessary, you are everything and more to me Edmund! if I do not belittle you, why should you belittle yourself?"
"Because Pete," Edmund replied, clutching his brother all the more tighter. "You are sublime, you are- are Magnificent just as your title. You are the Golden One, the fair one. The one that deserves everything and anything good whilst I will remain in the shadows,"
His voice drifted off, and Peter had to lean forward to hear the tragic words.
"For that is all I am good for,"
Silence, terrible, opressive silence.
Peter seemed quite lost for words as he stared down at his brothers hidden face, face wet and eyes wide. His mouth opened and closed for a brief moment because his face hardened and his eyes grew stormy.
Wrenching Edmund away from him, Peter had him stand in front of him, keeping his hands upon his shoulders as he stared straight into those brown depths.
"You-Yo-" Shaking his head, Peter paid no mind to Edmunds watery befuddled eyes. "By the stars Ed, you are everything, everything, to me. You are my heart, my soul, you are my king, you are my brother. It was you that was the only thing that kept me going, the only thing that I sought to protect in battle. When you were captured, my mind went blank with panic and my heart ached because I did not know where you were or what was happening to you and it terrified me! I could not sleep nor talk nor eat because you were not at my side, I could not see your face nor your hair nor your armour. I remained clueless! Utterly clueless and it horrified me because you are everything good and right and moral and just in this world that i could not bare to live without you!"
Eyelashes fluttering fiercely, Peter stared at Edmund, wishing, hoping - praying - that he would figure it out, that he would realize that he was more than good enough, more than worthy.
"It is you, Edmund Pevensie, that is the magnificent one,"
Letting out a great cry, Edmund flung himself at his brother. His body shuddered with sobs as he turned his head and buried his face into Peters neck. Startled but more than pleased, Peter wrapped his arms around his little brothers waist, lifting him bodily off the floor.
"You fool," Peter murmured into Edmunds dark hair, placing a kiss upon it. "You utter fool,"
They separated, Edmund wiping his eyes on his shirt cuff as Peter gazed at him. With a small, sombre smile playing across his lips Peter grasped Edmunds left hand in his own two. Bowing his head even as he raised Edmunds hand to his lips, he kissed the knuckle with clear affection lurking in his eyes as he gazed at his brother.
"You are everything, Edmund. And I shan't let you forget it,"