Rating: PG? It's just funny fluff.
Warning: Vague slash if you look for it. Edmund+crossdressing=hilarity ensues.
Summary: Edmund plays a prank on Susan and Lucy the day before Narnia's summer festival and learns never to do it again. I would advise everyone not to drink anything while reading this. But that's your warning!
Dedication: This is dedicated to everyone here at narnia_slash! I promised this fic if at least five people posted way back and the response was wonderful, so here's to all of you wonderful people here at N_S. Enjoy!
Lucy sighed, pulling the cloth from the fire-heated water. Their small campsite was the only warmth of red amidst the winter white landscape of snow that surrounded them. Peter gave her a small smile, watching as she ran the heated clothed over her other brother’s too pale face. Edmund shivered in Peter’s arms, despite the three layers of sleeping rolls wrapped around his wet form. Lucy melted one frozen curl on his forehead with the rag, pushing it out of the way, before she turned and carefully dipped the cloth, reheating it again.
“If he wakes up and denies that he fell into the water, I’m going to smack him.” Concern reflected in her eyes and upon her features, despite the brusqueness of her voice. Peter pulled Edmund closer as another round of violent chills wracked the younger king’s frame, to which Lucy sighed and began her cloth ministrations once more.
“Yes, well, falling through a hole in the ice is much harder to recover from. I do not think he can refute that he did so.” Peter’s voice was gentle as he shifted the blankets more securely around his brother, as they had become loose during Edmund’s trembling. He could not help but smile as Lucy huffed: an attempt to keep her concern and unease at bay.
“Yes, well,” she echoed Peter, “I’ve already told him he’s not allowed to worry us anymore. And this most assuredly fits beneath that category.” Peter unwrapped one arm from around Edmund, gently cupping Lucy’s cheek, causing her agitated motions to still.
“Relax, Luce. He’ll be awake soon.” But still Lucy grumbled. Though Peter was more used to traveling injuries, Lucy did not oversee the wellness of the Kingdom for nothing.
“I think we are lucky that he will.” She once more ran the heated cloth over Edmund’s cheeks and forehead. “Any longer in that water and we would not be worrying about him waking up.” She pressed the back of her hand to Edmund’s forehead in the ominous silence that followed her words, pursing her lips before she replaced her hand with the cloth. “He’s still too cold, Peter. But he is getting warmer. Still, though we may have thwarted hypothermia, when he does wake, he’ll not feel well.” Her shoulders slumped. “And I would not expect him to wake up for quite some time.”
Peter settled back, keeping Edmund as close to the fire as possible, and as close to himself as possible. His look was one of careful calmness and a certain amount of experience. There was not a single thought that Edmund would not awaken. It was this measured calmness on Peter’s face that calmed Lucy more than anything.
“Well, I guess we’re taking a break then.” He gave her an optimistic smile, trying to bring her spirits up, despite how worried he himself was. Lucy nodded wordlessly, eyes watching Edmund with an experienced yet concerned gaze as he continued to shiver in Peter’s arms. Or at least, the bundle of blankets continued to shiver in Peter’s arms. For the next few minutes there was silence between the siblings, Peter watching Lucy as she continued to tend to Edmund, occasionally removing the cloth to check his temperature. The woods were rather peaceful and still, the area fairly secluded, much to their relief. In the end, it was Lucy who broke the silence again.
“Tell me the story, Peter,” she asked softly, though she did not look up from Edmund. Peter, however, did look up from Edmund, confusion written across his face as he glanced to his youngest sibling.
“What story, Luce?” Lucy only rolled her eyes and looked up at Peter then, pausing in her motions to smile mischievously.
“You know which one, Peter!” Peter only groaned, hiding his face in Edmund’s wet curls.
“Luce, you were there, and you’ve heard it a hundred times already!” Yet he could not help but smile as Lucy’s face instantly brightened, and she bounced slightly on her knees before her brothers.
“Oh please, Peter! You always tell it so well, and I don’t know everything! I was not there the entire time. And it is positively adorable! Please, Peter, please, please, please, it’s cold out here and we have nothing to do but wait and the story is so funny and so cute and-”
“Alright, alright, Luce, I’ll tell it,” Peter finally cut in, shaking his head in amusement. Lucy practically squealed in delight, reheating the cloth on Edmund’s forehead and scooting closer to her brothers. She grinned deviously.
“Edmund would kill you if he knew you were about to tell it again.” Peter chuckled, tucking his shivering brother closer.
“Yes, well, it was also he who gave me this opportunity to tell it, but let us hope he does not wake up in time to hear it.” Peter winked at his youngest sister, the Valiant Queen. “Now, where would you like me to start: the beginning of the festival? Earlier? Later?” Lucy lightly smacked his arm.
“You know where to start. Stop trying to cut it off!” Peter shrugged innocently, but at the stern glance from his sister he laughed, conceding defeat.
“You’re horrible, Luce. You just enjoy how embarrassing the whole thing was.”
“Oh come off it, Peter. You know you loved it. Besides, did he not look positively splendid in that-”
“Shh, shh, you’re ruining the story, and I haven’t even started yet!” Peter cut in, laughing. He shifted Edmund slightly, but only so he could lean forward conspiratorially, smirking. “So I suppose you wish me to begin from the prank?” Again Lucy hit his arm.
“Stop stalling, Peter. You know where.” She grinned and Peter laughed again, leaning back to his former position and resituating Edmund.
“Alright, let’s see now. I believe it was the night of the summer festival ball? Yes. Ah, yes. And Edmund decided it would be a most wonderful prank to steal your and Susan’s gowns-”
“Oh, I’m sure he wishes he hadn’t!” Lucy cut in. Peter silenced her with a stern glance of his own, but the sparkle in his eyes took most of the severity from the look.
“Now, where was I? Ah, yes. When you both had your gowns back and had figured out what had happened, you were none too pleased…”
“You are positively horrid, Edmund, you know that?” Susan said indignantly to a laughing Edmund, trying to stand regally as she held her gown, now a rich green in color, rather than the carefully selected sky blue she had worked hard to achieve. Lucy stood next to her, huffing just as indignantly, her own dress a deep fuchsia now. Peter stood off to the side, his arms crossed, watching the spectacle before him with the barest hint of a smile on his face.
“The looks…on your faces…” Edmund said between laughs, trying to stop laughing, which only led to him smirking smugly. Lucy opened her mouth to say something but then whirled on Peter. Peter instantly dropped his smile into one of deep concern and sympathy.
“Peter, surely you will not let him get away with this?”
“They are just ball gowns!” Edmund cut in with a smile. “It is not as though it were the end of the world.” Lucy turned on him.
“Ball gowns that you decided to fix in color! We worked hard to get them just right!”
“If they are just ball gowns, than surely you would not mind just a small punishment?” Susan asked, arching an eyebrow at him. Edmund opened his mouth to say something, but Lucy had already turned to Peter, waiting expectantly. Peter glanced between his three siblings, feeling rather caught in the middle, a fish out of water. Finally his flustered look turned into a grin, hidden relief behind it.
“I do believe that Susan and Lucy should decide the punishment, as the prank was against them.” Edmund whirled on Peter.
“Peter! I would agree to a punishment, but not from them!”
“What’s wrong, Edmund. Are you afraid?” Susan smirked and Edmund whirled back to face her, instantly challenging her subtle play on his ego.
“Of course not,” he scoffed, grinning playfully. For they all knew this was one big game. He crossed his arms, glancing between them. “Go on then, give it your best.” Susan and Lucy glanced at each other and then back to Edmund.
“Anything?” Lucy asked.
“Anything,” Edmund echoed. Again Susan and Lucy turned to each other, identical grins slowly spreading across their faces.
“It was a prank against us, so perhaps we shall punish you with a prank of our own.” Edmund’s brows furrowed quizzically, and he shared a glance with Peter, wondering how it could be a prank if he knew about it. His older brother merely shrugged. Edmund turned back to his sisters. Susan stepped forwards, holding her dress up to Edmund.
“Oh my, would you look at that, Lucy, he is the perfect height!” She seemed delighted. Lucy followed Susan, holding a sleeve up to the side of Edmund’s face.
“You’re right, Su! And the new color matches his eyes oh so well.” Edmund’s eyes widened and he stepped backwards away from them, shock and mild disgust written upon his features.
“No,” he said bluntly. Susan arched her eyebrow.
“I thought you could take any punishment we gave you?” Edmund crossed his arms almost protectively over his chest.
“There’s a reason I am a man. I do not wear dresses.” He spat out the word, looking a bit more distastefully at the dress Susan held up. Susan and Lucy looked at each other, placing identical looks of sympathy on their faces. Lucy held a hand over her heart.
“’Tis a shame, is it not, dear sister?” Susan nodded.
“Indeed it is, dear sister. We shall have to tell Princess Mehlia that King Edmund has taken an interest in her after all.” Edmund looked genuinely shocked and frightened, taking a step back in horror.
“You wouldn’t?!” he said, eyes wild. “I have not taken an interest in that…that…thing!” Susan gave him a look of disapproval.
“Now, now, King Edmund. Do not speak of your future Queen that way. It is unseemly.” Edmund glanced wildly between his sisters and then over at Peter. His eldest brother had yet to say anything, still in a mild state of shock at the punishment his sisters had come up with. Though he could understand Edmund’s terror concerning Princess Mehlia and he let out a shudder.
“I would take the dress, Ed. Anything is better than her,” he said softly, rather sincerely. Edmund’s gaze was pained, begging, pleading, but Susan and Lucy would have none of it. Susan held out her dress to Edmund and he gave it one more look before he whined slightly and took the gown from her hands. Lucy laughed brightly, clapping her hands together.
“Excellent! One night, Edmund. You have to wear it to the ball.” Edmund had decidedly turned a rather awkward shade of green, one that Peter rather sympathized with. He made a note never to play a prank on the girls, especially the night before a ball, a note he was sure Edmund was making to himself in the same moment. Susan and Lucy began walking away before Susan turned again.
“Oh and Edmund, unless you wish merely to look like King Edmund in a dress, I suggest you come to my chambers two hours hence, so that we may get you ready properly.” And with that, the two girls turned and headed down the hallway, twin grins upon their faces. Edmund stood next to Peter, both of them watching silently as their sisters disappeared down the corridor. Only when they had turned the corner did Edmund turn to Peter, the sickly green shade still upon his face. He scowled.
“I’m going to kill them.”
Three hours hence, Peter knocked politely on Susan’s door. Lucy opened it before he had even finished his knock. He entered the room, grinning at Lucy.
“You look stunning, Luce,” he said sincerely. He turned to Susan, only to realize they were not alone. He hastily dropped into a bow. “Forgive me, my lady. I did not know Queen Susan had a visitor.” Little did he realize, and when he did it was too late. Susan’s face was bright red as she tried to keep from laughing, whereas Lucy had already begun laughing, so hard she almost fell over.
“Call me a lady one more time, Peter, and I’ll make you a lady with my sword,” Edmund growled from his spot in the chair before Susan. Peter clapped a hand to his mouth, wide eyes showing above it as he stepped closer. And indeed, when he stepped closer, beneath the makeup and the wig of curls identical to Edmund’s own just longer, it was, Edmund. Peter opened and closed his mouth a few times, looking once more like a fish, as Susan finally lost her fight against laughter, clutching the chair to keep herself upright. Behind them, Lucy squealed, bringing Peter enough sense of mind to finally respond.
“Aslan’s mane, Ed,” he said incredulously. Edmund merely scowled at him and turned away from the three of them.
“What are you laughing at, Lucy?” But his anger only served to spark Lucy’s laughter, and she redoubled over in another fit. Peter wondered if perhaps it was now time to make a hasty retreat.
“Umm…” He averted his eyes from Edmund, who indeed was rather pretty in his outfit. “I just came to let you two…three…know that it is about time to make our appearance.” He glanced down at Edmund, who was adjusting the dress over his chest in a most unladylike manner. Peter blinked. “Ed, I daresay you’ll have to go down by yourself. Seeing a woman standing in your place would be quite a tip-off to many of our subjects.” Edmund grunted something, though Peter was not sure if it was due to his annoyance, or the fact that he could not breathe in the constricting garment, and nodded. Peter continued, “I have already informed the heralds that King Edmund is sick and will not be attending tonight.” Lucy finally managed to halt her laughter enough to cut in.
“Just think, Ed, if you play your part well enough, no one will know its you!” This sparked more laughter from Susan, though she was doing her best to reel it in.
“Indeed.” She gave a final cough to regain her composure. Edmund finally stopped fiddling with the gown and sat rather ungracefully in the chair. Susan clucked her tongue. “Sit up straight, Edmund. Even as man you are not supposed to slouch.” Edmund turned his annoyed gaze up to her.
“It hurts,” he finally said softly. Susan was not quite sure she heard him correctly, though she was fairly sure.
“What was that, dear?” she asked, grinning. Edmund’s gaze darkened.
“I said, it hurts,” he grit out. Lucy was the one to laugh as Susan reached over and straightened Edmund’s shoulders with a surprisingly strong grip. Edmund let out a gasp.
“Breathe up and down, Edmund, and don’t breathe so deeply.”
“Easier said than done.” Edmund’s retort was decidedly less forceful without the air to back it up. Lucy grinned.
“Oh good, now you don’t sound like a man either. Keep that tone and you’ll be perfect.”
“I did not know he sounded like a man in the first place,” Susan replied lightly, causing Lucy to grin as Edmund squeezed his eyes shut, his clenched fists indicating how much he wished to hurt something, preferably something distinctly feminine that bore an uncanny resemblance to his sisters.
Susan turned and shared an amused glance with her sister, before turning that glance back to Edmund. Her grin instantly fell.
“Oh, Edmund, your breasts are lopsided now,” she reprimanded gently and seriously. She reached over and pulled, poked, and prodded at Edmund’s chest. The dark haired king’s eyes snapped open, hands quickly unclenching.
“Su!” Edmund cried, horrified, trying to push her back. Susan slapped his hands lightly away as Lucy instantly burst out laughing once more. Peter was finding himself hard pressed not to laugh, or smile. He tried to remain inconspicuous there in the corner as he watched the interesting spectacle before him, but the laugh that escaped him alerted his brother to his presence. Peter instantly tried to rectify, not wishing to be on the receiving end of Edmund’s anger, which he knew Edmund would have no problems taking out on him.
“Su, perhaps you should allow him to wear his own boots? They won’t be seen, he’ll be able to walk much more smoothly, and I daresay he won’t be taller than most of the men out there.” Susan was still fiddling with Edmund’s chest, or lack of a chest, and had now reduced her movements to small prods to set them just right. When she was finished she stepped back, pondering as she gazed over her handiwork.
“You’re right, Peter. Alright, Ed, you can wear your own shoes.” Edmund turned, his eyes giving Peter a grateful glance, before he huffed and stood up, crossing his arms protectively over his new-found chest. The fact that he had to shift his arms and cross them again made more tiny amused smiles flit across his siblings’ faces.
“Now that you are all done having fun at my expense, I’m leaving. Good day.” And with that he marched out the door, though it was decidedly more comical given that he looked as feminine as he did. Peter, Susan, and Lucy all exchanged glances, watching Edmund leave the room.
“You know, he really can pull this off. He has the features for it,” Susan remarked.
“I think he’ll do whatever is in his power to protect his identity,” Peter said thoughtfully.
“Only if he tries to act like a woman and not Edmund,” Lucy retorted lightly.
The three paused, sharing a laughter-filled glance, before they resumed their own preparations.
“Tell the part about where Ed first went into the ballroom!” Peter paused and looked over to her.
“But I thought you knew everything, Luce? How do you know I know any more about it than you do?” Lucy rolled her eyes, lightly smacking Peter’s cheeks back and forth in her hands.
“Because, dear brother of mine, I know that Ed told you.” Peter chuckled, pretending to bite one of her fingers.
“Did he now?” Lucy nodded with the assurance of one knowing exactly what they had for dinner last night. Peter only ever saw it rarely, glimpses into these moments reminded him of just how related his siblings actually were. At the moment, Lucy looked and sounded quite a bit like Susan.
“He did. The part where he managed to get into the ballroom unnoticed and then he met-“
“Luce!” Peter laughed. “You’re ruining the story.”
“That’s because you’re being too slow.” Peter unwrapped one of his hands from around Edmund and covered Lucy’s mouth, still chuckling. Lucy looked up at him expectantly, her eyes saying everything above Peter’s hand. Peter nodded appreciatively.
“Now, where was I…”
Edmund found his own entrance into the ballroom to be relatively inconspicuous. As the Head of the Order of Justice, he was able to get around throughout the castle without being detected, if needs be. Granted, he encountered more than a few problems trying to make his way in a billowing ball gown (to him, any gown was billowing), through the secreted passageways. But it all paid off in the end, for he was able to slip into the ballroom without having to announce his presence to the heralds, who stood announcing all those who entered through the main doors. Edmund glanced around and breathed a sigh of relief. He resolved to remain as inconspicuous as possible, making it through this night before he could slip away once more. No one would be any the wiser, and he would suffer as much humiliation as his siblings had seen in the room, no more, no less.
With his resolve firmly set, Edmund found himself a relatively secluded spot against one of the walls to stand, scowling as his siblings were announced to all in attendance, the three of them regally stepping into the room. Where normally he would have smiled proudly, he could only scowl, all too aware of the murmurs that passed through the crowd when they saw three, and not four, enter the room.
“’Tis a pity that King Edmund is sick,” someone spoke up next to him, so suddenly that Edmund very nearly jumped out of his skin, or his dress, whichever came first. He whirled to the side, eyes widening in horror.
“Princess Mehlia?” His incredulous whisper sounded rather feminine thankfully due to the dress and his surprise.
“Oh, you know me?” The Princess grinned as though expecting this. Edmund quickly closed his eyes in relief, realizing with those words that she knew not who he was. And he could thank no one lower than Aslan for this miracle that had been given to him. He quickly spoke up, not wishing to give her pause to consider him strange.
“I…heard your name when they announced your presence.” He kept his voice carefully formal. The Princess seemed to frown at this, but she brushed it off.
“I do not remember hearing your name when they announced your presence. Might I ask what it is?” She turned to him and Edmund quickly glanced away, pretending to fix one of the decorations on the gown. “I am…Lady Edaline,” he finally responded, bowing his head. “I am pleased to meet you, Princess Mehlia.” The Princess grinned, clearly liking the deference he was showing her.
“It is a pleasure to meet you as well, Lady Edaline.” She procured two goblets of wine from a passing servant and handed one to Edmund.
She must really be in need of friends, Edmund thought sarcastically, taking the goblet and a few gulps. Princess Mehlia watched him curiously, but let the matter slide, glancing back to the three monarchs, a small sigh escaping her lips.
“’Tis a pity that King Edmund is sick,” she said again, and Edmund could tell it was her distinct way of drawing the conversation back once more. Had it been anyone else insisting that they speak of him, he would have been flattered. But this? This was Princess Mehlia. This, was an entirely different story. He quickly cleared his throat and thought of something to say.
“Indeed, it is a pity…”
Princess Mehlia needed no further bidding than that. She turned enthusiastically to Edmund, a bright grin on her face.
“Have you ever seen King Edmund, Edaline?” Edmund quickly looked down into his goblet of wine, swirling the liquid around, in the hopes it would lend to the casualness of his response.
“No, Princess, I have not.” Mehlia shook her head, as though Edmund had just blasphemed against Aslan himself.
“Now that is a pity, Edaline. For it is a sight that is most kingly indeed.” Edmund glanced up from his goblet after a few moments, realizing from her stare that she was waiting for him to agree.
“Ah, yes, indeed, Princess. I should think he is most fine indeed.” It seemed to suffice. Mehlia grinned again and leaned in conspiratorially, though outwardly she looked every bit the lady waiting for a dance partner.
“Indeed, I should think such a fine figure would be satisfactory to my tastes,” she replied with a wink.
“I presume King Edmund takes care of his figure then?” Edmund asked, partially intrigued by what she was saying, and at the same time revolted that he was listening to this.
“I must concede, Edaline, he has quite a handsome figure. Such a fine posterior as his should prove quite pleasing to me, if you follow my meaning.” She casually took one hand from where it was resting on her goblet and squeezed the fingers together, as though she were squeezing something. The action was rather subtle to all save for Edmund. Edmund turned a decided shade of green with disgust and red with embarrassment, the colors clashing to create a paled countenance.
“Are you alright, Lady Edaline?” Mehlia asked, concerned. Edmund nodded profusely and quickly stood up.
“I just, I ah, I must, pardon me, Princess, but I-”
“Pardon me, my Lady, but might I have this dance?” Edmund was startled by the smooth voice that cut off his excuses and provided the escape he needed. Not much better than Mehlia, but after his performance, he knew he needed to be away from her. He quickly nodded, casting his eyes down with a shaky curtsey.
“Of course, Sir. I would be honored.” He tried to make his voice as airy as possible, swallowing thickly in concealed disgust as he placed his hand in the man’s, allowing the other to lead him towards the floor.
“It has been a pleasure to speak with you in this moment, Princess,” Peter said lightly, bowing formally to Princess Aranelle. “But if you would not mind, I fear I must excuse myself.” Princess Aranelle curtsied gracefully, a coy smile on her face.
“As you wish, Sire. As always, it has been an honor.”
Peter quickly moved through the crowds of people, happy that many were finding the occasion one to be remembered, and spared him just enough of a glance as was protocol, before they resumed their merry dancing and eating. He was on his way to find a drink for himself, walking passed one of the side corridors leading from the ballroom, when he found himself suddenly pulled roughly into it.
“I hate men,” Edmund spoke softly, but succinctly, his hand clapped over Peter’s mouth before Peter could shout out his surprise. Peter instantly relaxed and pulled Edmund’s hand away, glancing behind him to make sure no one had seen his rather hasty departure. He turned back, giving Edmund a smile.
“Surely it cannot be all that ba-”
“One groped me.”
Peter’s mouth hung open to finish the sentence, but instead he finally nodded and closed it again.
“Point taken.” Edmund glanced quickly past him into the ballroom to make sure they were still hidden, before turning his attention back to Peter, the dark curls flying about his face. Peter beat him to speaking.
“Ed, you can’t hide out in the alcove all night. Nor can I, for that matter. Come,” he motioned with his head to the ballroom, “just stay by the refreshments if you do not wish to dance.” Edmund shook his head vehemently. He leaned in conspiratorially, as though about to share the secrets to all of life’s mysteries.
“…They just. Keep. Coming.” Peter quickly stifled a laugh, covering his mouth with his hand. Though, judging by the annoyed look on Edmund’s face, he had not hid it well enough. A small smile still played about his lips as he pulled his hand away.
“Perhaps they all just fancy a dance with such a fine lady.” Edmund hit Peter upside the head.
“What did I tell you, call me a lady one more time and I’ll-”
“Alright, alright!” Peter laughed, though softly, fixing his crown. “Just come back to the ball. You’re doing fine.” Edmund sighed, glaring at his older brother, dark eyes clearly none to pleased with this entire situation.
“Don’t be so angry with me. I am not the one who stole Su and Luce’s dresses, nor am I the one who gave you the punishment,” Peter responded to his glare, lightly pushing Edmund’s shoulder. Edmund’s curls once again swayed across his face from the movement, partially obscuring his eyes, and Peter had to blink himself out of it when he realized he actually had noticed that. Susan had done an excellent job on Edmund’s disguise, he also noticed, as he looked more closely. He was not even sure whether the dark curls were Edmund’s own or no. To be certain, his brother needed very little rouge or powder on his face. There was just enough to bring out his eyes, and he could tell that Edmund’s lips had at one point been lightly painted red, matching the small blush that fell across his freckled cheeks.
“Peter. Hey, Peter!” Edmund waved his hand in front of Peter’s face, snapping Peter from his wanderings. Peter blinked and shook his head, finding Edmund’s questioning gaze on him. He chuckled, glad that the light was dim enough so that Edmund could not see the blush that lightly stained his cheeks.
“Pardon, Ed. I was just inspecting your…disguise. Susan did an excellent job.” Was that a compliment? Peter was not sure if it could be one or no. Edmund, for his part, saw it as no such thing. He crossed his arms, dark eyes once again glaring at Peter (from behind rather long and dark eyelashes, which in Peter’s opinion wholly negated his glare). Peter chuckled again, shaking his head in amusement.
“Alright, alright. Let us just return to the festival.” He was about to say, “Ladies first,” but then he thought better of that idea. Instead he took a step back. “I’ll go first, and you can follow a few minutes later, alright?” Edmund merely grunted a wholly unladylike response, leaving Peter to chuckle once more as he stepped out of the alcove and into the ballroom.
Edmund stepped out a few moments later, the picture of calm, though his dark eyes flickered about warily as he crossed towards the refreshment table.
Edmund cursed lightly to himself and turned around, placing a gracious smile on his face. He almost forgot to nod his head, but remembered to nod courteously at the last moment.
“Sir Colden.” He grit his teeth into a smile. The man in question moved briskly to Edmund’s side, just a tad bit too closely, an overly-sweet smile upon his face.
“I have been looking for you, my lady. I came to request another dance.” He kissed the back of Edmund’s hand (to which Edmund almost gagged, but held it in). Gagging was the least of his problems. Getting out of having to dance with him again was much more important.
“Begging your pardon, Sir, but-”
“Oh come now, Milady, no need to be shy now,” Sir Colden cut in, chuckling lightly. He placed Edmund’s arm in his, leading him towards the dance floor. Edmund tugged his arm away, but Colden merely placed a hand on the small of his back. By now Edmund was more than a tiny bit miffed, and just shy of showing the man just how “ladylike” he really was. He glanced around, relief in his eyes when he caught sight of Peter standing by the refreshments, just beside them. He tugged away, moving to Peter’s side quickly.
“I am sorry, Sir Colden. But I have promised my next dance to P-King Peter,” he said gently. Peter turned around in surprise, not really reacting for a moment. Edmund gently prompted him, shooting Peter a glare that only Peter could see.
“Sire?” Peter blinked and then placed one of his Kingly smiles upon his face.
“It is good to see you once more, Lady Edaline.” He turned his gaze to the other man. “And good evening to you, Sir Colden,” Peter said lightly, nodding to him in greeting. Sir Colden bowed deeply.
“Good evening, your Majesty.” The man bowed respectfully. Peter smiled disarmingly, motioning to the woman standing at his side.
“I trust that you were not about to rob me of my dance with the Lady Edaline?” Sir Colden glanced back and forth between the two of them. Edmund quickly placed a gracious smile on his face and curtsied to Peter.
“Oh no, King Peter. Sir Colden merely wished to escort me on my way to you.” He hitched his voice up just a tiny bit more, even though it was already small from the tightness of his dress. Peter could just see the words bouncing around in Edmund’s mind. “These dresses are so not made for men.” Sir Colden quickly nodded.
“Of course, your Majesty. A fair maiden such as she should never be seen alone.” He added charm to his voice, offering the compliment to Edmund. Edmund merely nodded his head, so glad that his brother had been right there that he did not pay attention enough to feel disgust. Sir Colden watched them both curiously, and Peter quickly turned to Edmund, holding out his hand.
“Might I now have this dance, My Lady?” Edmund’s gaze flicked to Sir Colden, who was still standing there, before smiling winningly.
“Of course, your Majesty.” He smiled demurely, dropping his gaze as he placed his hand in Peter’s. This seemed to satisfy Sir Colden, and he left without another word. As soon as they were alone Edmund breathed a sigh of relief, dropping his hand from Peter’s.
“You’re welcome, Ed-…aline,” Peter responded, glancing around and seeing people looking at them curiously. Edmund huffed just the faintest in annoyance. Peter knew exactly what he huffed about. The problems with being a High King: everyone was always watching you. Edmund placed his arm in Peter’s, leading him subtly towards the dance floor. Peter’s eyes widened in surprise.
“Ed, what are you doing?!” Edmund turned to him, his voice taking the same timbre.
“You’re dancing with me.” Peter rolled his eyes and shifted Edmund slightly, so that Peter was now doing the leading onto the floor. He placed his hand at the small of Edmund’s back.
“Very well…My Lady.” And yet again, Edmund’s eyes flashed.
“Peter, what have I told you!?” he hissed. Peter merely leaned in, matching his soft tone.
"Listen, if you don't want them knowing who you are then I cannot treat you as I would my-" Peter cut off, glancing around for a moment and then back at Edmund, smiling sweetly. "What do you say...My Lady?"
Edmund glanced around as well, catching Peter’s drift. He sighed, now realizing he would have to keep up some semblance of pretence even with his brother, something he had been hoping to avoid all night. The thought was somewhat sickening and worse than being in the presence of Sir Colden. On second thought, no, Sir Colden was worse. Edmund smiled again and placed his hand back in Peter’s, the other slipping comfortably onto Peter’s shoulder, as he allowed his brother to lead him through the dance.
Peter and Edmund, for their part, were able to perform the dance smoothly and effortlessly; both looked the picture of contentment and none would know any better, unless they came close enough to actually hear the words passing between the two Kings, or rather…the High King and the Lady Edaline.
“I swear, I’m going to kill those two sisters of mine as soon as I get the chance,” Edmund ground out, glancing around for them. Peter rolled his eyes.
“Stop glancing around. People will think you do not wish to dance with me.” Edmund glanced back to his brother, arching his eyebrow with a very tiny smirk, visible only to someone who knew him as well as Peter did.
“Why Peter, I do hope you do not believe I wish to dance with you.” Peter only arched his eyebrow right back at Edmund.
“You’re right. I shall find Sir Colden for you immediately.” Edmund scowled at Peter’s words, knowing he had a point. Peter took that as his response and shifted back to their earlier subject. “And as if you would ever kill your sisters.” Edmund shook his head, but he kept his glaring to a minimum, knowing that Peter was right: dancing with the High King meant every eye not dancing was upon you. He had to play the part and play it well. But that did not stop his annoyed words, spoken just loud enough to reach his dancing partner as they twirled. But at the same time, dancing with Peter was better than dancing with any other. Peter knew who he was. He did not have to worry about another trying to grope or fondle him. Outwardly he had to look the lady, but with Peter he was protected. He could be Edmund to a certain degree.
“You’re right. I’ll kill any man who tries to lay a hand on them as Sir Colden has to me. It is positively disgusting! Do we really act so horrific?” Peter shook his head.
“Well, unless there is something you aren’t telling me…”
“Peter!” Edmund said, though softly, to which Peter merely laughed. Despite the oddity of their meeting, it felt good to be able to have some private time to enjoy his brother’s company. Something about Edmund’s bickering always made Peter smile, and for a moment Edmund forgot about his worry for the Queens, glad that his sisters were not watching them.
“That’s not true, Peter! We were watching!” Peter broke off the tale, glancing to Lucy, whose eyes sparkled mischievously. Peter just shook his head.
“If you saw than you would not need me to tell the tale, Luce. Besides, I would have seen you.”
It was Lucy’s turn to shake her head, her grin widening. She leaned forwards, and Peter decided that the look in her eyes was the reason for the foreboding knot forming in his stomach.
“…That’s because you were too busy looking at Edmund to notice us.” Peter groaned.
“Luce…” But Lucy just put her hand up to quiet him and grinned.
“We actually were not all that hard to find…”
Across the room, Susan had finally taken a break from dancing with the many who sought to dance with her, finding Lucy near the refreshments. She nodded to her, sipping her drink. Lucy’s gaze was positively devious, her eyes twinkling. She nodded silently to the dancing floor. Susan’s brow furrowed and she silently questioned her sister before following her gaze. Her eyes lit up and she stifled a laugh, turning back to Lucy.
“Is that Edmund dancing with Peter?!” Her voice filled with glee as she leaned in so only Lucy could hear her. Lucy stifled a laugh of her own, though her grin widened considerably as she nodded.
“They’ve been dancing for the past hour together, Su.” Susan’s eyes widened.
“Whyever for?” Lucy nodded to the guests standing on the outskirts.
“Apparently Edmund makes a very good woman.” Susan clapped a hand gracefully to her mouth, gazing back to Edmund and Peter. And indeed, it did seem that he tried to make sure Peter did not lead them towards that side of the ballroom, and as the song ended, Peter graciously offered another dance, though Susan could see that Edmund held his hand in a death grip. She shook her head, chuckling in amusement before taking another sip.
“By the lion, now I feel sorry for Peter.”
“The past hour? Aslan’s mane, at least someone felt sorry for me. That was hard work, you know.” Peter rolled his head on his shoulders to stretch his neck, as though his body remembered how it felt.
“Oh come off it, Peter. You loved every minute of it!” Peter decided he did not like Lucy’s smile at that moment. Peter pursed his lips to show he was not going to get into this argument with her, looking down to Edmund. He brushed a curl from Edmund’s forehead, noting that he felt warmer and the curl in his fingers was no longer frozen. Lucy watched him, arching her eyebrow.
“Using Edmund to try and divert from responding really does not help your case, Peter.” Peter shot Lucy a look, reaching over and lightly flicking her nose with a finger, to which she giggled.
“Well I suppose since you seem to know everything, I do not need to finish?”
“No!” Lucy laughed, reaching over and flicking his nose back. “You don’t get out of it that easily, Peter! Go Go!” Peter shook his head in amusement, a small smile playing about his lips.
“You’re impossible, Luce.”
“You’re impossible, Ed!” Peter exclaimed quietly as he spun Edmund out into yet another dance. “Honestly, this is getting ridiculous! People are going to begin noticing, if they have not already!”
“I don’t care, Peter. I’m not dancing with anyone else.” Peter blew a piece of hair from his eyes.
“Then at least let us both go and get a drink? Just a small rest?”
“Because I said so.”
“Who is the King here?”
“Ed, we’re going to go and get a drink. It’s just the refreshment table, stop being so scared.”
“Who died and made you King?”
“Aslan, only he did not die.”
Peter barely managed to keep his balance as Edmund tripped over the hem of his dress and fell forwards into Peter’s arms. He wrapped them instinctively around his brother as Edmund looked up at him from his chest.
“Are you alright?” Peter asked, concerned. Edmund nodded, a blush creeping onto his cheeks, deepening the red that was already on them.
“Ed, what did I tell you about swearing?” Edmund dropped his head back onto Peter’s chest, using it as a post to hit his head against with each of his next words.
“I don’t bloody care.”
“Ed…” Edmund glanced up again when Peter whispered his name in a soft warning tone, about to retort, but his sudden action caused their faces to be rather close. The retort quickly died in his throat, just as Peter’s words trailed off as well. For a few moments nothing was said, until Peter caught sight of the guests beginning to look at him strangely. He glanced down and realized with a start that he was still holding Edmund to him. Strange indeed, and completely unseemly! Standing in the middle of a dance floor with a Lady in your arms! Edmund seemed to notice at the same time, and quickly pulled away as Peter helped him right himself.
“Come, Milady, let us get a spot to drink,” Peter said, holding out his arm. Edmund’s eyes flashed yet again, but he said nothing, merely smiled disarmingly, placing his arm in Peter’s.
The walk to the drinks was not long at all, and it became even faster when Edmund’s pace quickened halfway there. Peter thought that Edmund must have realized just how thirsty he truly was. Edmund poured himself a glass of the spiced wine, gulping it down quickly, while Peter watched amusedly, drinking his own.
“Well I say, Majesty, this is a positively wonderful celebration!” Peter and Edmund both looked up as Sir Nimpanen of Archenland stepped over towards the refreshments, waving a hand before his face to cool himself. He quickly dropped into a bow as he spoke the words, showing his deference to the High King. Peter smiled and nodded back graciously as Edmund looked on warily. The Archenland knight turned his gaze to Edmund, dropping into a gentlemanly bow. “I do not believe I have met you before, Milady. Allow me to introduce myself as Nimpanen of Archenland.” Edmund was now well rehearsed himself and curtseyed.
“It is a pleasure to meet you, Sir. I am Lady Edaline.” Nimpanen reached over and lifted Edmund’s hand to his lips, kissing the back.
“The pleasure is all mine, Milady.” Edmund was unable to help but smile, despite himself. Sir Nimpanen had always been a fine man, well versed. Edmund had spent a great deal of time with him when he would come, discussing various subjects with him. He enjoyed Nimpanen’s bright intellect but right now was more wary of his position as a female than his friendship with the other. But Sir Nimpanen did not seem to want a dance at all. He stepped over and poured himself refreshment, for on this occasion there were no servants, it was a time for celebration, on Lucy’s insistence. Nimpanen took a long drink of his own, licking his lips contently.
Edmund watched silently, indulging in his own drink as Peter and Nimpanen spoke of various political subjects, speaking of Narnia and Archenland, the shame that King Lune could not attend among other things.
“But you see, Majesty, we have found the trade routes from the Lone Islands to be increasingly encumbered with the insistence from the captains upon which route they take.” Edmund looked up, speaking up.
“Charter 46 has just been passed which should allow for an easier voyage and simpler trade, both for Captains as well as merchants and consumers. We have come to an agreement with the merchants so that trade routes might become regularized once more to risk the fluctuation and sporadic treatment among the various port cities.” Peter and Nimpanen both looked over to Edmund, who was sipping his drink before he realized his mistake. Peter noticed the slight widening of his eyes but to his relief Nimpanen spoke up first.
“You have made quite a catch, Majesty, if you do not mind my saying so,” the jolly man chuckled, “a fair beauty with an intellect well-suited to match.” Edmund’s face flushed slightly at the compliment and he took another almost smug sip of his drink. Peter smiled with pride before he caught the other words, blinking.
“Forgive me, Sir, but you mentioned a catch?” Nimpanen laughed again.
“Well of course, Majesty. My manners are not at their best, for it is hardly the word to use for the potential bride to the High King.”
Edmund spat out his next sip, very nearly choking on it. Nimpanen looked over in concern but Peter was quicker, using Edmund’s reaction as his own distraction to hide his own reaction to the comment. He quickly turned to Edmund, ever prepared.
“Milady, are you well?” Edmund was glad that Peter had placed himself between Nimpanen and Edmund so that he could pull himself back together without Nimpanen watching. He quickly did so, nodding.
“Forgive me, Majesty, the words were a bit of a shock to me, that is all.” Peter gave him a look that definitely said “me too” before he turned back to Nimpanen.
“Might I ask where such an idea was birthed, Sir?” Nimpanen now looked skeptical, glancing between the two of them.
“Majesty, it is the talk of the evening. You have been dancing with the Lady Edaline without pause for nearly the entire night. Surely that is a sign of courtship, as it has always been within tradition?”
Peter and Edmund both went to speak up at the exact same moment but Peter quickly cast Edmund a glance and his brother seemed to remember his disguise. Unfortunately at the same moment Peter realized that to deny a courtship meant that their actions this night would be regarded as highly controversial. So instead he kept a direct answer to himself, giving Nimpanen a small smile as he sipped his drink. Though Peter, like Lucy, tended to wear his heart on his sleeve, his time as High King had given him an understanding of his public persona versus his private one and he had become extremely adept at hiding what he might be thinking, his countenance clear of inward thoughts.
“One can never know what the night has in store, Sir Nimpanen,” he smiled, taking another sip of his drink. Out of the corner of his eye he saw Edmund shoot him a glance that was both accusatory and shocked, but the Just King quickly schooled his own features as well. Nimpanen laughed lightly and nodded his head, bowing it courteously.
“May all go well for you, Majesty,” he spoke sincerely. He looked over to Edmund, nodding his head respectfully to her as well. “And for you, Milady, I wish you all the blessings of Aslan.” He reached out and gently clasped Edmund’s hand, kissing the back once more.
The smile on Edmund’s face had been plastered there more than anything else, and Peter had a good idea why. He set his goblet down and took Edmund’s hand gently from Nimpanen’s. Edmund would definitely owe him for this come morning.
“If you would excuse us, Sir, it is my hope that the Lady Edaline will accept my request to dance once more.” He turned his gaze to Edmund, giving him a charming smile, one that High King Peter the Magnificent was known for across the nations. Edmund returned the smile and quickly dropped into something like a curtsey, his outward appearance in no way giving a hint to his inward disposition.
“Of course, your Majesty. I would be honoured.” The two of them turned and left Sir Nimpanen at the refreshments, moving back towards the dance floor. Peter caught Edmund’s furtive glances towards the side where many of those not dancing milled about and he tightened his hold on Edmund’s hands almost subtly, without thinking. He understood Edmund’s wariness, not just because of their own subjects and the potential for them to discover who he was, but also those who were here from Archenland, the Lone Islands, and Galma.
“Relax,” Peter said quietly, rather surprised with himself. He was the High King of Narnia, and Edmund, his brother, was his support. They always watched each other’s backs and now, as strange as the situation was, Peter could not help but feel the overwhelming urge to do the same. Yes, Edmund had brought this upon himself, but Peter had never been one to leave his brother out to the wolves without help. He blinked and looked over to Edmund, realizing that his brother had turned surprised brown eyes to him as well, not expecting Peter’s words. But Peter just smiled and squeezed his hand again as they stepped out and took up dancing positions once more.
“Peter,” Edmund began quietly as his brother led him through the dance, which he followed without complaint. That was not on his mind right now. “They think you’re courting me. And you didn’t deny it!” Peter spun Edmund out and then back in again.
“And if I had, Ed?” he said quietly, their voices just enough so that the other could hear. “Then what would they think? You’ve been dancing with me all night, Ed. I don’t like it any more than you do but if we had denied it you would have had to find another dancing partner. At least here you don’t have to worry, right?” Edmund looked up to Peter and the older of the two could see his brother’s dark gaze scrutinizing him, the calculated mind and wisdom that his brother had grown so perfectly into hidden just behind those brown eyes. He finally sighed, but nodded.
“Look at it this way, Ed,” Peter said quietly again, giving his brother a small smile. “After tonight’s over, no one else will know anything, and I certainly won’t be trying to take your hand in marriage. Only three of us know who you really are and I’m not going to tell. Just stick with me, alright?” Once again he was surprised by his own words and even though he could see Edmund was as well, his brother gave him a small smile, the first true smile that he’d seen all night from him. Peter’s heart fluttered. There was something about making his brother smile that made him warmer than anything else. Lucy’s smile could brighten his day, Susan’s smile could bring him such peace, but when he managed to get his brother to smile, it was like nothing else. And so he returned the smile and spun Edmund out again as the dance dictated before pulling his brother back in. Edmund was a master of disguise and Peter was his protector. If Edmund could do this, he could too.
“So you’re the one who ruined our plans,” Lucy spoke up, her voice accusing, but her eyes were twinkling as she looked over to Peter. Peter blinked and looked up from Edmund to his youngest sister, smiling over to her, matching her mischievousness.
“You only said he had to survive the night, Luce, not how he had to do it,” he chuckled, reaching over and gently thumping her nose. The Valiant Queen could not help but laugh, thumping Peter’s nose back.
“So we did, Peter, so we did.” She reached down and lifted the cloth gently from Edmund’s forehead, rewetting it and dabbing gently at his face, which was beginning to return to its normal colour now, though still pale. She looked up to Peter and lightly hit his arm.
“Why have you stopped?” she asked, grinning over to him as Peter groaned. “You can’t stop there! You haven’t reached the best part yet!” Peter blinked and looked over to Lucy.
“There’s a best part?” he asked in surprise, to which Lucy just laughed and clapped her hands together.
“Of course there is, Peter! You know what the best part is!” Peter shook his head, laughing at her.
“Oh no you don’t, my beautiful sister! That is not the best part! That was horrifying to say the least!” Lucy just grinned, lightly patting his cheek.
“Only at the time, Peter. But you can’t say that you didn’t like it!” Peter gave her a blank stare that only Edmund could have rivaled.
“Yes I can.” But his baby sister of course, would not buy it and she crossed her arms over her chest, eyes twinkling.
“Peter Pevensie don’t you try to lie to me. We all know that you don’t know how to fib at all!” Peter chuckled again, shaking his head in amusement.
“You’re right, Luce, I can’t. But that doesn’t mean I am now.” Lucy just rolled her eyes and lightly smacked his arm again.
“Keep going! Please? We still have time!” Peter untangled one arm from around their brother and reached over, lightly ruffling Lucy’s hair.
“You’re going to be the death of me, Luce, you know that?” he asked her fondly, love in his eyes. Lucy just laughed and nudged him onwards and he shook his head, but continued.
The rest of the night continued to pass in relative ease after Peter and Edmund had come to some an understanding between each other. Peter had stepped up his role from Edmund’s dancing partner to Edmund’s partner in crime, just as Susan and Lucy had been at the start of the evening. Now it was not Edmund trying to keep himself hidden from the guests of the party, but because Peter knew and understood, it was Peter’s job to keep his brother hidden from the guests of the party.
Their banter continued as they danced, and Peter was grateful to see that his brother was relaxing more and more. Their outward appearances had been cast aside, Edmund’s disguise hardly something that separated them now, but rather, something that joined them. Peter led the dances carefully and Edmund followed, knowing that Peter was leading in just a way to keep him tripping over his dress. Peter was rather surprised to find that he was truly enjoying his time with his brother. They were almost always too busy to just have a good time together. Edmund spent most of his time in the Order of Justice and Peter had much the same problem, his own ties to duty keeping him away, save for meals with his siblings. Edmund laughed as he came back in to Peter’s side, curls flying about his face.
“Honestly, Peter! You know as well as I that the badgers living over near Owlwood would never agree to that.” Peter just grinned back to his brother.
“Not unless we asked, Ed. And maybe if we threw in some of those blackberry spreads they seem so fond of. Food I have found is everything, if you are any example of that.” Edmund gave his brother a look.
“Food is essential, Peter. The right food is even more so. The right food and good food? That is absolutely key. You’re right, I should know.” Peter could not help but laugh this time as they danced across the floor, the dance keeping them well away from all else.
“Well it’s a good thing that you eat the right foods, Ed, otherwise you’d never be able to fit into that dress.” Edmund partially spluttered, looking over to his brother mock-affronted.
“Are you calling me scrawny?” he asked his brother to which Peter just laughed and shook his head. Edmund gave him a look, leaning in really closely all of a sudden.
“Jealous of my dashingly good looks? That’s alright, who isn’t?” he asked, teasing his brother. This time it was Peter’s turn to splutter from Edmund’s words as the younger king subtly shifted so that he was leading the dance for a few steps. Peter allowed him, the both of them competing for dominance of the dance as well as the conversation.
“We all know that you’re food habits are so that you can try to look as handsome as me,” the elder of the two teased back, to which Edmund could not help but scoff, just laughing.
“Me!” Peter broke into laughter this time, shifting the dance so that he was in the lead again.
“Edmund, your eloquence simply astounds me!”
“Of course it does. I’m a naturally astounding person,” Edmund grinned, pretending to preen slightly. Peter opened his mouth to retort, but his words were cut off by the sound of the bells going off, indicating that midnight had arrived. Edmund froze and Peter looked to him in confusion before he seemed to realize the same thing. Edmund was shaking his head.
“I’m going to kill them. I’m going to kill them,” he kept repeating quietly. Peter was absolutely mortified himself. All of the dancing lessons that he and his siblings had taken with Dance master Julian and he had forgotten about this? He looked around slowly, watching as all the dancing couples shared a traditional kiss, one that symbolically showed gratitude and harmony, a part of the occasion. Edmund was still muttering and Peter looked down to him, licking his lips anxiously.
“Ed,” he whispered. “Ed!” he said more forcefully. Sweet Aslan why did he have to be High King in this moment. If he did not share the traditional kiss with his dancing partner it would throw the harmony of the night into disarray. Peter took a deep breath and leaned in, pressing a kiss to his muttering brother’s lips, steadfastly closing his mind off to any thought. Edmund froze against him, but Peter held it as was customary before he slowly pulled away and gave his brother a look that told him he was just as mortified as Edmund. He turned his gaze and offered a few reassuring smiles to some of the onlookers, most of which were cheering for the events of the night and its spectacular success. Oh yes, Edmund definitely owed him for all he had done for him this night.
“Ed, Sir Colden,” he said quietly, as though to remind his brother of how this could have been much worse than it already was. Edmund seemed to snap out of his thoughts and he stared up at Peter before he blinked. Peter did not need more than that, able to read his brother so well. He slowly started their dance once again as the dancing couples around the floor began to dance as well, though this time their conversation was muted, if there were any at all, both lost in their own thoughts. And this time, when the dance ended Edmund broke silently away from Peter, cast his brother a look before he turned and quickly made his way from the dance floor and out of the hall, disappearing through the great doors that led out onto the balcony, leaving behind a shocked, but subdued older brother. Peter looked around the room, searching to see how many had noticed before he turned and made his way quickly out of the hall after his brother, slightly apprehensive and uncertain. This was not something he’d ever had to deal with before.
“Ed,” he said quietly, making his way over to the dress-clad form that stood at the edge of one of the balcony railings. He reached out, his hand clasping Edmund’s shoulder-
“What have I told you about telling that story?” a quiet voice wheezed from Peter’s arms. Peter jerked in surprise as Lucy jumped forwards, the silence she had gone into as she listened to Peter’s story broken by her other brother’s voice. She immediately pulled the cloth away and pressed her hand to his forehead.
“Ed!” Edmund scrunched his nose, his eyes crossing as he looked up to her hand.
“I’m fine, Lucy, I’m fine.” He looked past her to Peter, whom he was resting against. His brother was strangely silent as he watched Lucy tend to Edmund, but there was such relief in his eyes as he looked down to him.
“Welcome back, Ed. Did you sleep well?” Edmund reached up a stiff arm and lightly cuffed Peter upside the head, but his eyes were twinkling.
“I repeat, what have I told you about telling that story?” Lucy responded before Peter could however.
“Oh, Ed! You’re the one who had to go and scare us! Serves you right! I’m allowed to hear the story again!” she grinned, so relieved that he was awake again. She leaned down and wrapped her arms around her brother, hugging him tightly. Edmund just chuckled, extricating one arm to gently cup her head.
“You’ve heard that story a hundred times, Lucy.” Lucy looked up from his chest as Peter shifted slightly to accommodate holding them both.
“So? I love it! The ending especially!” Edmund just scrunched his nose, but he was smiling to his sister.
“Somehow I don’t believe that, Lucy.” Lucy just laughed and Peter gently nudged her.
“Come on, Luce, give him some space to breathe, hm?” he said with a gentle smile, though one could see the relief in his eyes coupled with worry for his brother. Lucy shifted back somewhat reluctantly, but her eyes were dancing as well, watching her brothers. Edmund turned his gaze from his sister up to Peter, shifting slightly in Peter’s arms, but the blankets were wrapped rather tightly around his body.
“Aslan’s mane, were you two trying to incarcerate me?” he asked, as Peter chuckled, leaning down close to Edmund.
“No, just worried,” he said truthfully, though he was still smiling. Edmund looked up to Peter and gave him a reassuring smile, reaching his left hand up to gently cup Peter’s cheek. He closed the distance between them, kissing Peter gently as Lucy grinned, her eyes falling to Edmund’s hand as the light reflecting off the fire bounced off the silver band on his finger. She could see the matching band on Peter’s hand as they remained wrapped around Edmund’s frame. Lucy waited until the two had broken apart before she spoke again, her eyes dancing. She did say she loved the ending of the story after all.
“Can we hear the rest of the story now?”
Peter and Edmund just groaned, the sound mingling with their sister’s laughter in the stillness of the winter woods.
Well, there you have it. This is one of the longest one-shots I've ever written. The end word count was 10,539 words! So you know, not quite as long as Sub's but not too bad, eh? Anyway, hope you guys enjoyed. This has been an ongoing work for so long and I'm glad that I'm finally able to have it out here for you guys!