Title: Honey, I Shrunk the Kings
Disclaimer: I do not own Narnia (or Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, but I really only used the name and the basic concept)
Note: I think when I started writing this I was trying to write a humorous drama or something (possibly inspired by Ultra-Geek's wonderful Narnia stories that are hilarious but when you think about them you realize how serious they are). Anyway, it took me over a year to write this, so I don't know how it really ended up. Hopefully you'll enjoy it anyway.
Oh, also, I'm not a medical professional, but I did the best I could with the injuries, illnesses, diagnoses, and treatments used in this story. On the other hand, Peter and Edmund aren't medical professionals either, so I'm going to just going to blame them for any mistakes.
Peter crept silently among the sparse trees. His sword, Rhindon, hung ready by his side, but he did not yet unsheathe it. The trees, young and far apart, provided small cover. He had to move swiftly if he didn't want to be…
"What do you think you're doing?"
…caught. Peter sighed and turned to face the figure, who was leaning against a linden tree. "Heaven's stars, Ed, I'm just going for a walk! I'm less than a mile away from Cair Paravel. You do not need to be following me!"
Edmund frowned and pushed off the tree. "You're ill, Peter," he said slowly, as if explaining to a child that no, you do not have wings and cannot fly if you jump off the roof. It was a tone Edmund had perfected in recent weeks, in fact, ever since Peter nearly had jumped off a balcony in the midst of his fevered dreams.
Still, Peter had to protest. "It was a touch of the flu, and I'm almost completely over it." 'Please don't cough, please don't cough,' he silently begged his lungs.
His protests did not stop Edmund from slapping the back of his hand – a little too hard, in Peter's opinion – against the older king's forehead to check for fever. The fifteen-year old scowled when he did not find one. "You are very lucky that Healer Scelpus thinks you're fine to be out walking as long as you don't have a fever. But it is still stupid to go out on your own without telling anybody, particularly when you've spent the past two weeks doing your best to rise to the Marshwiggles' most dire predictions for your health."
Despite the exaggeration, the scowl on Edmund's face was indicative of his belief that Peter should not be out and about by himself. Which meant Edmund was not going to be leaving him alone, just as he hadn't the past two weeks. Peter sighed and resigned himself to having company on his walk. It was not that he did not like spending time with Edmund; he just wanted to be alone after being coddled and fussed over for days on end. "Fine," Peter snapped, a little harshly. "Just…give me some peace and quiet, will you?"
Luckily, Edmund did not mind being silent – and even promised not to say a word until Peter gave him permission – as long as he could keep a sharp eye on his brother. When Peter turned and strode off, the younger king even followed four whole feet behind his brother. Peter considered this to be a success.
So, with a shadow he tried to ignore, Peter was able to walk through the trees of Swealwen's Grove, a small woods near enough to Cair Paravel not to need a guard but far enough to be away from the hustle and bustle of home. For the first time in a long time Peter was able to feel the warmth of the spring sun on his face, smell the fragrance of new blossoms on the air,…listen to his brother constantly clear his throat. Peter clenched his teeth. Edmund was staying true to his promise not to speak, but apparently small coughs for attention were not covered under their agreement. And they were beginning to grate on Peter's already fragile nerves.
The older king was about to turn and snap at Edmund to just talk and stop that infernal noise when the hairs stood up on the back of his neck. It was an instinctual warning sign that Peter had quickly learned to trust in battle. There was no battle now, but there was danger, and Peter's hand flew to the hilt of his sword.
As Edmund was already drawing his own sword, it seemed that Peter was not alone in his intuition. The brothers moved automatically to try and take up positions, back to back, in order to take in all possible avenues of attack, and Peter went to draw Rhindon from its sheath.
Suddenly an ear-piercing shriek burst through the air behind the High King, who whirled around in time to watch the air ripple and slam straight into an unprepared Edmund. The younger king crumpled to the ground, sword spinning away from hands that now clutched at his chest. "Edmund!" Peter pivoted to stand next to his brother, but did not dare move to check him over, not when he could not see the source of the attack. Taking a defensive stance next to Edmund, who he could hear desperately trying to suck in his breath, Peter again reached to draw his sword.
He froze at the chilling cackle that echoed from the midst of the surrounding trees. "Ah, ah, ah! I wouldn't do that, little king. I won't be so easy on you again." And if the owner of the voice sent another magic attack, Rhindon would be of no help. Cursing softly, and wishing he had his shield, Peter slowly withdrew his hand.
A holly rustled, turning Peter's attention to it. Still cackling – rather annoyingly – a hag materialized from behind the tree, skin dirty and wrinkled, eyes red and heavy-lidded. There was something inherently repulsive surrounding her presence, which made Peter want to run to get away from it. He would not, of course; even if a strategic retreat was possible, he would not leave Edmund, who was only just recovering his breath. "What do you want?" Peter growled at the hag. Next to him, Edmund struggled to his feet; the younger king stood close to Peter, focusing his eyes on the hag only a moment before surveying their surroundings. Peter almost smiled, relieved that Edmund was well enough to follow their training and watch for other dangers so that Peter could focus his attention solely on the immediate threat.
The hag grinned at them, showing two rows of brown, rotting teeth. "I have all I want right here. Two little kings, all alone and helpless."
She was right on two parts: they were alone and they were relatively helpless – there were no guards, Edmund's sword was out of his reach, and neither king had a shield to block any attack, magic or otherwise. But Peter was not one to allow a villain a free pass at mocking him, regardless of how accurate a mockery it may be. "I hardly think you have any grounds on which to call us 'little'!"
Indeed, the hag was over a foot shorter than the Narnian kings, both of whom were rather tall for their ages. So it was rather laughable that the small creature would call either young man 'little'. However, lacking in height though she was, the hag made up for it in her ability to use dark magic…and a temper as short as her stature.
The hag's eyes burned with a fire as dark as a thundercloud. "Little I called you," she shrieked, shrill voice shaking with fury. "Little I name you," A sharp wind rose up, crackling with dark power. "Little you shall be!" With a final shout, the hag pushed against air, throwing a burst of power towards the two kings.
There was not much Peter or Edmund could do in reaction. It did not help that they were struck with conflicting instincts: if it were not such a tense moment, it might have been amusing to see the brothers attempt to duck and cover while simultaneously attempting to shield each other from the hag's magic. As it was, Peter had the advantage in shielding attempts, being closer to the hag and having most of his attention on her, while Edmund had been keeping an eye out for other dangers. Therefore it was the High King who caught the brunt of the blast on the side of his head.
It was like being hit by a giant's club. A wooden club, probably more like oak than pine – Pine clubs tended to be thinner and caused more focused damage than the broader oak clubs. Peter and Edmund had had several arguments over which club they would rather be hit with: Peter preferred pine, though Edmund insisted that oak caused more widespread but possibly less dangerous injuries. So, as the two kings were sent flying through the air by the force of the hag's magic, Peter almost automatically classified the feel of the blow as more oak-like, and he spared a moment to be annoyed that he was hoping Edmund was right in his argument.
Then Peter hit the ground, heard a grating crack, and the world went dark.
Peter came back to consciousness with a shrill shriek…that is, with a manly shout, as white-hot pain ran up his left leg and then decided to stop and have a pleasant cup of tea with the throbbing pain in his head. Letting loose a string of words that Susan would be appalled he even knew, Peter opened his eyes, trying to see what was happening to his leg while, at the same time, not moving anything. It was not very effective, especially since the world was currently spinning faster than usual.
The High King heard a rustle and then Edmund's face appeared in his line of vision. "Sorry about that. I thought it would be better to check for injuries while you were out of it. Looks like you landed on your knee, well, wrong."
Peter blinked, not necessarily hearing what Edmund was saying. He was distracted by the fact that there seemed to be two identical faces in front of him. "Since when do you have a twin brother?" he asked, his voice accusing. He should have been told he had another little brother who he had to keep out of trouble!
Edmund and his twin frowned simultaneously. Then they shrugged and said, "He only appears when you have concussions. Give it some time and he'll go away. Like usual."
Peter blinked again. He was pretty sure he had heard this before, but couldn't place when or where. Then again, the fact that his brain was trying to hammer its way out of the back of his head made concentrating a bit difficult.
"I'm pretty sure that's physically impossible," said Edmund wryly, "not matter how hard you landed on the ground."
Frowning, Peter wondered if he was speaking out loud without knowing it.
"You are. Either that, or the hag's magic made it possible for you to communicate just by thinking at people."
The fog in Peter's mind was starting to clear. "That might be useful, actually."
Edmund shook his head – heads? "It would, which is why I doubt the hag would actually do that." He – they? – moved back and, when the pain subsided slightly, Peter realized belatedly that the younger king had been examining his head without him noticing. "Does anything else hurt? Besides your head and knee?"
Peter tried concentrating beyond the obvious areas of pain. "Not that I can tell." Then he thought of something. "Why does my knee feel like it is trying to leave my leg?"
Edmund – and his twin, who kept fading in and out – sighed "You landed on it wrong," he said, and Peter remembered that he had actually mentioned that before. Edmund continued, "Probably didn't help that it had both your and my weight on it."
That made sense, Peter supposed. It also reminded him that Edmund had also been involved in the event that was the source of his nausea-inducing pain. "Are you hurt?" he asked, furrowing his brow in worry before wincing at the movement.
"Hardly," came Edmund's dry answer. "I had a nice, soft landing."
The humor in Edmund's voice gave Peter pause. Processing the statement in relation to rest of the conversation, Peter frown. Edmund had said he had landed on…"Are you calling me soft?"
Edmund just smiled. "Of course not. That's your concussion talking." The younger king shifted so that Peter could see him better. "And speaking of which, we need to check to see how bad this one is."
After running through the concussion tests to placate Edmund's concern about the state of Peter's present mental faculties – which Edmund claimed were not all that good to begin with, thus making it harder to tell if there was any damage – the brothers attempted to work together to move Peter to a sitting position. This was not fun, and Peter's head protested violently. Only Edmund's steady hands kept Peter from falling over as the world spun every which way. It took a few minutes for Peter's vision to clear and the nausea to settle. Finally, he was able to get a good look at their surroundings.
Peter blinked. Instead of the familiar shade-trees of Swealwen's Grove, they were now in the midst of a dense forest of reeds that towered far over their heads. No grass grew on the extremely rocky ground that looked like it sloped into hills further off. "Where are we?"
Grimacing, Edmund shook his head. "I haven't really had time to look around. Not anywhere I've seen…" He trailed off and stared contemplatively at the reeds, as if seeing them for the first time.
Usually Peter could follow his brother's thought process as it happened, but that ability faltered when he had head injuries. It was better not to even try, lest he accidentally do something like accuse Edmund of wanting to knight a completely unsuitable china cabinet. Again.
So instead Peter waited as Edmund thought. It was not hard to wait, given that Peter was fairly certain that moving would be a Very Bad Idea – at least, according to his knee and head – and he wanted to put it off as long as… "Edmund! What are you doing?" Peter exclaimed, eyes wide.
Edmund paused, still holding a small handful of dirt. "Figuring out where we are," he answered, as if it were obvious.
"By eating dirt?"
Edmund did not seem fazed and licked again at the dirt in his hand. "You should have come with me to learn soil composition with the Southern Dryads."
Peter vaguely remembered Edmund traveling near the border with Archenland for this. Mostly he remembered Susan bemoaning the state of Edmund's clothes when he returned. Deciding it was easier just to accept that Edmund could learn their location by eating earth, Peter asked, "So, has the dirt told you where we are?"
"Yes." Edmund's lips tightened, and not from the taste of the dirt. "We're in Swealwen's Grove – the same place we were when the hag attacked."
Peter looked at the exotic reeds that stretched far into the sky. "I think you may need to retake those soil composition lessons."
Edmund glared, but seemed to be giving Peter a little leeway due to his concussion, else Peter suspected he would have gotten a whack on the back of his head for that. "I am rather confident in my horticultural skills. This soil has just the right loam composition for Swealwen's Grove. And those are no reeds I have ever studied. Look at them." Peter obediently focused his eyes on a few of the reeds. "What do they look like?"
Trying to look intelligent, Peter worked to make the necessary mental connections. The reeds were thin, many of them curled and round, some thin and flat. A few were more sheaf-like, so Peter guessed, "Corn?"
"Close. I was thinking grass."
Peter stared at his brother. "Grass?"
Edmund sighed. "Think about it, Peter. What were you mocking the hag about?"
"Size?" Understanding was beginning to dawn, and Peter was not sure he liked the picture that was forming.
"Do you remember what she was saying right before setting that spell against us?"
Peter let his head fall gently into his hands. "Oh, no."
"Oh, yes." Peter looked up at Edmund, whose face was grim, though the corner of his lips twitched with a smile. "You mocked her about being small. Well, brother mine, it seems she has her revenge…since I believe we are now about the size of an ant."
I'm posting all four chapters at the same time, so enjoy!