Title: Wide Eyes Terrified
Disclaimer: Don't own 'em, just love 'em.
Rating: Putting this one up at R for themes and events.
Summary: Peter learns just how harmful loving Edmund can be. The question is, will he realize before it manages to destroy them both? Will he be able to cope, knowing its his love that puts Edmund in danger? (this is NOT SLASH)
Author's Note: More of the girl's in this one. Peter's changing guys, slowly, but he's changing. I hope you don't kill me for it. I was forced to post this chapter, but I'm warning you now that Chapter 4 isn't really written, so you won't be seeing another chapter from me for a long time. Blame the people I'm dedicating this to! First italicised section is a memory, other italics are Susan's thoughts (at the end).
Dedication: To all my girlies out there who keep me going. :)
He glanced at the clock again, wide awake and unable to fall asleep.
He stared hard at the clock, trying to make it move faster. Finally-
He humphed under his breath crossing his arms impatiently.
He grinned and glanced back up at the ceiling, hands drumming impatiently on his stomach. 12:00.
He heard his door open with a soft click and quickly wiped the grin off his face, pretending to be asleep. Right on time. Quiet footsteps moved towards the bed, and he felt it dip slightly as a small body sat on the edge.
“Peter?” a young Edmund asked, voice tiny. Peter pretended to be asleep, waiting for a sigh from Edmund. Sure enough it came.
“Gotcha!” he whispered loudly, sitting up quickly and grabbing his brother to him. Edmund squealed softly, wriggling as Peter tickled him mercilessly.
“Pe…Pet…Peter!” Edmund managed in between giggles. Peter laughed softly under his breath, watching his brother squirm. Edmund had always been extremely ticklish when it came to his sides. He suddenly stopped, leaning over his brother, smiling brightly.
“You little midnight devil, back again are we?” he whispered. Edmund giggled, pushing at his brother’s chest.
“Peter I’m always here!” he responded. Peter chuckled, sitting back and pulling back the covers so Edmund could climb under. The younger boy eagerly jumped beneath them, going so far down that only his raven-dark hair showed over the top of the quilt. Peter grinned, tapping the hair with his fingers. He was answered by a muffled giggle from under the covers. Peter feigned surprise.
“Oh my! The covers are giggling!” he exclaimed quietly. More giggles from the covers. “This shall have to be dealt with accordingly!” he continued, pretending to sound businesslike. He pressed his hand into the covers, just to the side of Edmund’s left arm. Edmund giggled. “Hhhmm…” Peter moved his arm along Edmund’s side, always coming within an inch of his brother. “…surely there has to be something underneath these covers…but I can’t seem to find it!” He smiled at the laughter that accompanied his words. He shrugged, though he knew Edmund couldn’t see it.
“Well then, if there is nothing beneath these covers, I guess I can just go to sleep on them!” he whispered, face close to the hair peaking out. He made an effort of moving, placing himself on top of the covers, and resting his head where he knew his brother’s stomach was. He smirked. “This pillow is too…flat,” he whispered. “It needs some fluffing up I think.” And Peter poked Edmund’s stomach through the covers, hearing Edmund cry out in surprise, wriggling to get away from Peter’s fingers. Peter pretended to be surprised.
“Oh my! Now the covers are moving!” he gasped. He grasped them and pulled them down quickly, uncovering Edmund in one swift movement. “Aha! I knew it!” he cried, pointing at his brother. Edmund just giggled, and grabbed the covers, pulling them up to his chin. He huffed.
“Go away you…you…mean brother! Can’t you see that your little devil needs to sleep?” he grinned. Peter pretended to think about this, before lying down and holding his arm out.
“Well then, if this little devil needs to sleep, than I must let him sleep,” he answered. Edmund’s face broke into another smile, and he quickly curled up against Peter, snuggling close as Peter wrapped an arm around him. It was silent for a few moments, and with Edmund there Peter knew he could finally fall asleep. Every night his brother came in and much to Peter’s dismay, he realized he could no longer fall asleep until Edmund was there with him. Right before he drifted off, Edmund’s sleepy voice cut the silence.
“How come the ghosts don’t come into YOUR room?”
Peter grinned, and pulled his brother closer, knowing that was answer enough.
Peter started slightly, a smile on his face as the memory ended and waited for his eyes to readjust to the dim light. As he came to his senses, he realized he was sitting in a chair in Edmund’s room-next to Edmund’s bed. They were in Narnia, not Finchley, and flashbacks of the past three days came rushing back to him. He immediately glanced over to the bed, eyes dimly recognizing the dark figure lying amongst a mess of quilts and sheets. Edmund was sleeping fitfully, tossing and turning, his face a mask of pain. Peter winced as his brother cried out, sobbing brokenly. The eldest immediately vacated his chair by the bed, hoping to soothe his brother before the sobbing developed into those terrifying coughs. And though Edmund usually had nightmares, for the first time Peter was not sure whether those nightmares had anything to do with his sobs.
“Shh. Its ok Eddie I’m here,” he whispered softly, cupping the side of Edmund’s face. He frowned at the heat that seared his skin. Edmund continued to whimper, face turning into Peter’s hand. Peter smiled sadly at the motion, though it quickly faded as his brother’s sobbing increased. Peter drew a trembling breath, his heart’s flutters wishing nothing more than to entwine around his brother and wash away the pain. “No Eddie no, please- Please don’t cry.” He stroked his hand once more down his brother’s cheek. The soft sounds of anguish gripped his heart, wrapping tightly around him. Edmund’s sobbing was suddenly replaced by gasping as he began choking on his own breath- and Peter’s fear became reality.
This reality was always worse than he could imagine.
Edmund’s back arched as his body now desperately sought to draw air into his lungs. Peter drew in his own shaky breath, a very tiny sob escaping his mouth as he quickly moved onto the bed behind his dark-haired brother.
He immediately lifted Edmund into a sitting position, moving them until his brother’s back came to rest securely against Peter’s chest. Peter could feel his own heart racing, matching the speed of his brother’s. His arm curved across Edmund’s chest, gently but firmly holding him in place, resting his hand over Edmund’s heart. Edmund’s body trembled in Peter’s arms and Peter could feel the erratic rhythm of his brother’s lungs. Edmund’s neck was arching against his shoulder, the dark hair brushing against Peter’s in a twisted display of affection. Peter wrapped his other arm around Edmund’s stomach, gently clasping his brother’s hand in silent comfort. The eldest sibling closed his eyes, drawing his mind away from Edmund’s heaving gasps and forced himself to calm down- taking strong, slow, steady breaths.
“Come on Eddie…breathe with me…I know you can do this…” he whispered, so softly, head leaning against Edmund’s, mouth close to his ear.
Unconsciously, with the feel of his brother’s deep breaths against his back, Edmund’s agonized breathing slowly, very slowly, began to calm. The gasps receded to erratic breaths, and Peter felt the tension gradually leaving his body. Peter opened his eyes, glancing down at his brother. Removing his arm from Edmund’s stomach, Peter brushed some stray dark locks away from his face.
“It’s alright Ed. I know it hurts, but it will go away. Just breathe, that’s it.” Peter stroked his brother’s hair until Edmund went completely limp in his arms, his head lolling to the side, coming to rest just below Peter’s chin. The eldest shut his eyes tightly, fighting the burning sensation that was building behind them. He had to be strong, and he would remain strong, to help Edmund pull through. He smiled, a sad smile, resting his chin on his brother’s head. With the memory still fresh in his mind, Peter realized with a start that though both of them had grown, Edmund still fit perfectly into his arms. He glanced down, eyes catching sight of Edmund’s slender hands. He blinked and suddenly they were smaller, pudgier- the hands of his brother when he was 6. Peter blinked again and the vision faded. He gently clasped one of those hands, encompassing the thin, refined fingers within his own larger ones.
“My little midnight devil, when did you grow up on me?” he asked softly, breath stirring the dark hair below him. He continued, using the memories to keep himself from breaking down. “Do you remember those days? You were so little, and those ghosts were so scary.” He smiled, reminiscing. “But don’t…don’t worry, I won’t let these ghosts harm you.” He gulped, his hand tightening around those slender fingers. “No, I will always be here to protect you from those ghosts, I promise.” It was more a statement to himself than to the sleeping boy in his arms. Peter allowed himself to be comforted by these words. Older Peter suddenly collided with a younger Peter, dimly realizing that he could sleep now, since his little devil was there with him. It was a small comfort, but with it he fell into a restless sleep, his little brother lying lifelessly within his arms.
Susan placed an arm around Lucy’s shoulders as the two sisters watched their brothers from the doorway. For the third night in a row, both were woken by Edmund crying out, and had arrived just as Peter, who was always awake, had moved to Edmund’s side. Neither had had the heart to enter, both watching helplessly as Peter calmed their younger brother. The soft sounds of Peter’s whispers reached their ears, but they were too soft to be heard coherently. Susan allowed herself to be soothed by the calming harmony of Peter’s voice, feeling the tone wash over her in steady waves. When the words stopped, both girls knew that Peter had followed their brother into a fitful slumber. Now Lucy tugged at her sister’s sleeve. Susan glanced away from their sleeping brothers, turning sad and questioning eyes on the youngest of the siblings. Lucy’s eyes glistened, though she fought to keep the tears at bay.
“Oh Lu…” Susan whispered softly, kneeling down to hug her sister. Lucy let her tears fall then, unnoticed by the two sleeping in the room before them. Susan sat all the way down, leaning her back against the doorpost, allowing Lucy to crawl into her lap. Susan soothed her sister as she cried, until all that remained were soft hiccups in place of the tears. Lucy looked up to her sister, her distress clearly showing upon her face.
“Why Su?” she whispered. “Why does it have to be Edmund?” Susan tucked a lock of hair behind her ear, her own face mirroring her sister’s sorrow.
“I don’t know Lu. I honestly don’t know,” she responded, head turning to glance into the room. Her mind recalled Peter’s soft voice, resonating with a determined strength that was slowly beginning to crack, and she closed her eyes. Oh Peter when will you learn! You can’t always be strong- everyone has a weakness, even you.
“But why does it always have to be Edmund?” Lucy cut in, interrupting Susan’s thoughts. “I know he went to the White Witch, but he didn’t know what he was doing! He didn’t know she was really evil! It wasn’t his fault!”
“We were all hard on him Lu I know,” Susan interjected. “And no one deserves this-any of this- especially our Edmund. He’s been through so much, to have to suffer through even more- and oh the havoc it is wreaking on Peter-“ She stopped, hands coming up to cover her face. Lucy gently moved her sister’s hands, looking up at her from Susan’s lap. Susan understood the silent plea from her sister, wishing her to continue. She sighed. “There are different ways to break a person Lu. Some people can be broken through physical torture, some through mental anguish. Even worse though, is to die without dying.” Lucy’s eyes widened. She looked into the room at her brothers, mouth opening in shock.
“Do you mean-“ she cut off, unable to say the words. Susan looked down at her hands, wondering if she was making the right decision in saying this.
“Yes Lu. Some people can die without actually dying; everyone has that one weakness, even Peter.” Susan looked back to her sister, eyes sadly sincere, and motioned towards the bed. “Peter’s weakness is right there, in his arms.” You can’t deny it Peter because I know; I may have been just as young, but I could see that love flickering in your eyes when Edmund was born. From the moment mum and dad brought Edmund home from the hospital- you’ve always had a special soft spot for him. From that first moment he was always yours-your brother. She followed Lucy’s actions and looked into the room. Her eyes swept the large bed, gazing at the two figures upon it. Despite the dimness, she could clearly see Edmund wrapped securely in Peter’s protective embrace, both sleeping fitfully. They seemed so small and vulnerable. Susan wished there was something- anything- she could do; she wished she could just wrap them both up and make everything alright. To see that mischievous twinkle in Edmund’s eye, or the bright smile that would light up Peter’s face- she would give the world to see them again. She finished her thought, eyes never leaving those two small figures.
“No matter what may have happened in the past Lu- Edmund is, and always has been- Peter’s weakness.” It was then that she turned back to her sister, blue eyes filled with apprehension.
“And I’m scared Lu. I’m scared because I know that if we lose Edmund, we are going to lose Peter as well.”
Welp, there it is. There you go, you aren't going to get more for a while...it takes a long time to write these chapters...they are very physically trying, so...everyone...in the words of Capegio "you could use a lesson in waiting." ;) so no killing me now! *runs away*