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: Nothing is what it seems. Keep that in mind. This chapter is ridiculously short, but it needed to be done. Adding anything else to this would have detracted from the arc of this chapter. Also, two weeks from today I will be out of school. As such, I may be going on hiatus for those two weeks, because of exams, and moving out of the dorm and all. But you never know. So bear with me!
Dedication: This chapter is going out to suborbital, because she deserves a dedication for once. So here's to you dahling, especially because you are just about ready to kill me for having to wait in posting this. So here's to you. Everyone else, go read her fics. Now.
Peter burst into the room breathlessly, wasting no time in getting to Edmund's side. His little brother was struggling to regain his breath, body jerking and twisting as he fought the pain that had once more invaded his system. Peter tried to calm Edmund, holding him close, creating a rock for the dark-haired teen to cling to. Edmund dimly recognized the blurred figure of his brother before him.
"P'ter..." he pleaded, voice a tiny mewl. "P'ter please..."
But the eldest sibling did not know what to do. He grasped Edmund to him, burying a hand in Edmund's unruly raven-dark hair, his brother’s unruly raven-dark hair. Steadfastly he held Edmund to him- held him through the wracking coughs and the shudders and the pain.
"Shhh..." Peter whispered, gently rocking his brother. His own voice cracked slightly even with that small sound. Edmund was actually pleading with him. Edmund never pleaded with him, Edmund never admitted to pain. Peter bit his lip, a habit he had unconsciously picked up from Edmund, unable to even fathom just how much pain his brother was in. He felt Edmund clutch his shirt tightly, slim fingers digging into the fabric. They spasmed with each wracking cough that shook his frail body and Peter felt his heart sink even more.
Their sisters and Tumnus watched helplessly from the doorway. Lucy clasped Susan's hand tightly, feeling the much needed support her sister unconsciously offered. Peter did not even notice his sisters at the door, so intent was he on his world, his brother. Peter closed his eyes tightly, fighting back the tears that threatened to break through his tough exterior. He had to be strong for Edmund, had to help his baby brother pull through. Baby? Edmund wasn’t a baby anymore. But he would always be Peter’s baby brother… He could feel the warm wetness penetrating his shirt from Edmund's coughs. Peter bit his lip again as he held Edmund even tighter, forcing himself not to look down at the blood gradually coating his shirt. Slow tears began leaking from Edmund's fever-bright eyes, streaking across a face filled with agony.
And suddenly there was silence. Edmund stared forward- wide eyed- terrified. His body continued quaking and heaving, but there was no longer any sound. Fever burned brightly on his face, sweat-soaked locks matted to his forehead. Susan and Lucy watched in horror as their brother trembled, now struggling just to breathe. In only a matter of seconds the heaving stopped and Edmund went completely rigid, face pointed upwards, bow-shaped lips open in a silent scream to the heavens.
"Ed?" Peter called, hoping for a sign, a response, anything. The room was completely silent, all eyes transfixed on their youngest king. And Edmund continued to gasp for air that didn’t come, mouth open, body rigid, eyes wide, completely terrified. And then his hand, still entwined with Peter's, squeezed tightly, before his eyes rolled back, and he collapsed to his bed.
Peter watched almost in slow motion as Edmund fell limply away from him. There was such finality in such a graceful fall, and it scared him beyond anything else.
"Ed!" he screamed once more into the completely still room. But Edmund did not respond, and he would not respond, because he could not respond; and suddenly Peter could do nothing but stare.
Susan and Lucy had slowly moved closer to their brothers, eyes never leaving Edmund; their brother was bathed in a pool of moonlight shafting in from the window. He seemed so young, too young, to suffer all this torment and agony. Fever lit his face, and the sweat glistened on his body- mingling with the moonlight- creating almost an ethereal glow about him. To his family, Edmund was too still, unnervingly still. Lucy’s eyes were immediately drawn to his hands, slender fingers lying limply against the sheets. She blinked, expecting them to begin fiddling with the sheets, folding small triangles into the fabric with two fingers: fold, then crease, then rub- the pad of his thumb along the point- before releasing it, only to start the whole process again in a different spot. She blinked again, her eyes traveling from his fingers back to his face, not understanding why his freckles stood out so starkly on his pale cheeks. She did not understand how his breathing had suddenly become so unlabored that she couldn’t even hear it. Lucy didn’t like seeing him so still. He had always been so vibrant, so full of life, and now he was too still. Unlike her two oldest siblings, Edmund had never been able to quell his emotions. He was the closest to her age, the one who seemed to understand her the most. Yet, as much as he was like her, Edmund’s emotions came in fiery outbursts of passion. He never had a problem voicing his opinions – never had a problem with being the voice against their quietude, the passion to their calm, or live a life that still managed to burn so hotly, despite all that he had been through. Lucy knew that they thought she had this job, but Lucy knew, oh how Lucy knew, that Edmund was their…her… constant reminder that there was still something to live for. And now, that light, that reminder that burned ever so brightly, seemed so…cold?
Tumnus quietly interrupted the stillness of the room, walking over to Edmund's side. Gently, so gently, he brushed some stray raven-colored locks from Edmund's face, before placing a hand over the young king's heart. A small sigh escaped him, and he inclined his head. Lucy looked up at him, confused.
Peter watched the faun, his own eyes just as wide and confused. The haze of despair that permeated the room was palpable: so thick, it was overwhelming. And in that moment, where Edmund had fallen, and the girls had moved slightly forward, and in that moment where Tumnus’ face fell in solemn sympathy and devastation, Peter understood. The eldest looked back down to his brother, his Edmund.
"No..." he whispered quietly. "NO!" he cried out, tears making their way down his face. Tumnus gently tried to pry him away from Edmund's body, but Peter would have none of it. "NO!" he howled, a keening wail that echoed throughout the chamber. He brought Edmund's hand, still entwined with his own, to rest against his forehead; and Peter, who had always tried to remain so calm, bent forward over the still body of his brother- and cried.
So, Peter finally cried. Took him long enough hm? And, well, there you have it. Sorry it took so long, and this chapter totally needed to be done. Please don't flame me, but, not that it matters I guess haha. Hope you erm...enjoyed it?