Disclaimer: Narnia belongs to C.S Lewis, who in turn belongs to God…who isn't me.
Lying on the field, legs drawn up into his chest, and teeth biting through the fabric of the sleeve of his shirt, Edmund Randall Pevensie was torn between two fierce struggles: Crying or screaming.
Of course, neither option was truly available to him and he knew it. A ring of boys (varying from the ages of nine to the wizened year of fourteen) had spaced themselves neatly and silently around him, their young, horrified eyes widened, focused on the wrangled limb that stretched out from Edmund's shoulder. No one spoke; they found that the words had long since frozen in their lungs by fear. One of the younger boys began to cry.
Edmund, his mind switching between agonizing pain and semi-rational thought, managed to open his mouth.
A low moan escaped instead, terrible, shuddering, pitiful. The boys visibly jumped in fright at the sound. Edmund swallowed the bile blocking his airway and panted for air, dragging breath into his lungs to steady himself. Raising his eyes from the grass to the blurred faces above him, Edmund forced out one word between his teeth.
A boy named Wallace vanished in a speeding flash, pumping his arms and les for all he was worth down the street and out of sight. At the field, the boys had regained their senses and were rapidly reviewing all the first aid methods they had learned in boy scouts…
"Prop up his head-"
"No! You're not supposed to move him!"
"That's only if he's unconscious."
"No, it's in case he has something broken."
Eyes flicked nervously to the snapped arm before they continued to converse.
"So when do we do CPR?"
Somebody hit the boy who suggested it.
"We ice it, right?"
"No, don't touch it!"
"Somebody find a branch. Maybe we can splint it."
"Are you MAD?"
"Check his pupils- are they dilated?"
Edmund felt someone pull his eyelid back, and quickly let it go.
"I can't tell. His eye's rolled into his head."
A moment of intense silence.
"Check his pulse!" A boy cried, and many fingers came from nowhere, chilled by the cool air, pressing on his throat, feeling to see if he was still alive.
The hands leapt back.
"Maybe we should call an ambulance."
"It…it looks like noodles beaded on a string…" a voice trembled. Someone narrowly avoided loosing his lunch.
"Don't say stuff like that- look! Here comes his brother."
Heavy, thudding footsteps shook the earth beneath Edmunds' head, and a peace swept through his electrifying pain, letting him loosen the tight muscles in his jaw, and air filter more smoothly to his brain.
"What happened?" The power in the voice was unmistakable; a gentle hand lifted his head and cradled in within its palm. Another hand tenderly pulled the gnawed sleeve from between his lips, rubbing a thumb over his cheekbone. Edmund let out a ragged breath, prying his eyes open to be blinded by sunlight and fuzzy white blotches. A golden face swam before his line of vision.
"-We didn't see-"
"-Must've stepped on him-"
"-Heard something break-"
"He said your name-"
"-Ran for help-"
"Enough," Peter said, and met his brother's eyes with concern, "How you feeling?"
Edmund shuddered, breath hitching in his chest. Peter's eyes brimmed sympathetically.
"Just hold tight a sec, all right?"
Edmund felt a muscle in his neck spasm, causing him to nod with an ill-controlled jerk. Peter set his head into his lap, brushing back his bangs and soothingly rubbing his temples. Edmund let out a shaking gasp of air, feeling strained and oddly energized by the injury that screamed murderously at him from his arm socket. He closed his eyes against it, focusing on the warmth seeping into his hair from Peter's knee.
Above him, Peter was firing orders.
"You- Watson- call an ambulance, would you? Yes. Ambulance. Go on. Thompson, grab me some pain medicine from your mother's medicine cabinet. Any kind, it doesn't really matter. Garrison: take the rest of these boys home, all right? They don't need to stand here while we wait. Go on. Ed? You still awake?"
Golden brows drew together, and a hand rested over his brother's shut eyes.
But Edmund didn't want to rest, instead the ancient hammering of battle bred adrenaline was echoing, resounding in his head, matching the throb of his agitated pulse and the harsh scrapes of oxygen being pulled in and out of his trembling chest.
In moments, Edmund passed from semi-rational thought to all-out fantasy.
Ringing of claymores matching scimitars sounded musically across the battlefield, along with the screams and pleadings of the falling ogres. Peter's shout was above them all- the perfect child of both Creation and Destruction, brimming with the life that was his own, reeking with the death that would soon descend upon those in his path. He was the Angel of Death upon his foes, and the foes of his family. Rhindon arced in the air before him, creating rainbows with it's blade, mesmerizing his opponents before they found themselves on their backs with their life force escaping them. Slowly, he worked his way to the ogre leader, only the flaming blue of his terrible gaze visible beneath his visor.
Edmund lay wounded a little ways off, having just escaped the grasp of a bleeding, maddened ogre of great girth. The monster had wrung his left arm out like a dish cloth, pulling the skin from his bone and the bone from his socket. Bleeding himself now, and feeling far from witty, the young King dragged his body with one arm to a low-hanging ledge in the side of the hill, rolling onto his back and panting painfully. The other wound, a long, deep gash down the back of his right thigh, throbbed and flamed angrily. He could feel his blood flowing out into the open. He couldn't stand, and he couldn't contest another enemy.
He was a sitting duck if any his crazed enemies caught a whiff of it.
Weakly, he managed to tug his small dagger- a gift from Lucy last Christmas- from his belt, clutching it foolishly in his palm. Did he really think he'd be able to fight off anything, let alone an angered ogre, if it really came down to it?
No. Not really. But it was sort of comforting to hold.
For a long while (hours? Days?) he lay beneath that ledge, breathing thinly, waiting for the inevitable approach of a half-starved ogre, the inescapable knowledge that even a healthy boy who was completely uninjured could not withstand an ogre in a Blood Rage, the certain fact that even if the ogres didn't eat him, their brutal stomping would rattle the ledge off of the hillside, crushing him completely.
The comprehension of looming death was not frightening. He had lived long enough. He had lived longer than he had originally perceived to, anyway.
But Peter...Would Peter be safe?
Edmund nodded his head to darkness.
Peter would be safe.
Would the ogres be safe?
It wasn't really that funny, but it wrestled a wet snort from his ribs, causing him to gag on his breath and cough, a grin still present on his features.
The ogres would be the least safe things on the field, if Peter was leading the battle.
He continued to chuckle, unaware that the sounds of battle were dimming and diminishing across the land. Pete's voice called the soldiers to order: he had won the day.
Edmund wanted to cheer for him but found it impossible to do so anymore.
Peter's voice had become panicked, its volume growing dangerously. Soon the words from his brother's throat became discernable.
"Edmund! My brother- has anyone seen him?"
Animals answered in the negative, though their words were skewered on the edge of a looming darkness, a great rushing.
"Break up and search for him! He must be here! Leave no stone unturned!"
Edmund? You hear me?
The rushing filled all of his being, and he knew instantly what he was about to experience, having come this far once or twice before. The same rush that overtook him at Beruna, and at various other battles since. The rush that blanketed his senses when assassins came to call at the Cair. The rush that stole the wind from his lungs when he had been thrown into the sea, in the third year of their reign. A rush far different from anything one experienced in life.
Hold in there Edmund.
Not for the first time, he fought violently back, clawing his way to the brief glint before the crack in his eyes. A golden glimmer teased him beyond the dark. It was curious, that gold always brought him power, brought him home. He scrabbled after it, recklessly, wildly, reaching his fingers as far as they would go to touch it, even skim it.
The ambulance is almost here. You might want to save blacking out for when they set your arm.
Peter-! But his consciousness was submerged once more, drowning in pitch, rolling in foul, sticking night. Edmund ripped at it, but found himself even more stuck in its shapeless mass the more he writhed. The struggle was too great, too much. Darkness pushed obnoxiously at his sides, startling and driving him back. Desperately, Edmund cried out.
A mighty roar simply shook the world at his cry, rattling it like a limp ragdoll, and darkness quickly receded, rightly berated. Then warmth filled his being, and the teasing gold finally engulfed him.
All at once, Edmund opened his eyes and was nearly blinded by his efforts, his head swirling like a boat atop the churning Eastern Sea. Peter ginned worriedly down at him.
"The ambulance is here, Ed."
A pair of men dressed in white hovered beyond Peter's shoulder, their faces set to a politely bored expression, and a stretcher held meticulously between them. Edmund returned his gaze to his brother and sighed.
"You've been waiting for the men in white to come and take me away for a long time, huh?"
His voice was crackly and strained, but it startled a laugh out of his brother's stomach all the same. The men said nothing, clearly used to this age-old wise crack.
Edmund peered about.
"Why doesn't my arm hurt as much?"
"Thompson brought you some pain reliever. I gave it to you while you were knocked out."
Peter helped the men load Edmund onto the stretcher, minding his arm, but still managing to make him hiss with discomfort. As they readied him to be carted away, snuggly wrapping him up to minimize knocking, Edmund managed a grin for his brother, and waved at him with his good hand.
"Tell Lu not to worry, okay?"
"And don't you worry either, Mr. Magnificent. It's just a broken arm."
Peter appeared unmoved by that sentiment, staring at the deformed appendage with a gut-churning look of sorrow, so Edmund grabbed his brother's hand and slapped it over his neck. Peter's eyes widened.
"Feel that?" Edmund asked, arranging Peter's fore and middle finger over his pulse, "Know what that means?"
Wordlessly, Peter nodded, his eyes fixated upon the pale skin that covered the beat throbbing at his fingers. Edmunds' eyes softened, and he gruffly threw Peter's hand quickly away.
"So don't worry, all right?"
A shy grin slid over the older boy's features.
"And for goodness sake!" Edmund grumbled, feeling more sheepish (and therefore more uncomfortable) by the second, "Stop being so dratted affectionate!" (The two men didn't bother to address the fact that it was he who was being so "dratted affectionate", and instead arranged their faces to portray utter ennui.)
Peter's grin blew up so fast, Edmund could hardly trace it, and the next thing he knew, Peter had swooped down to give him a kiss on his forehead, retreating before he could so much as blink.
"Last bit of affection 'til you get back from the hospital," Peter said cheerfully, giving him the thumbs up, "I promise."
Laying the stretcher in the middle of an abandoned rugby field, with his legs stretched out, his arm carefully splintered, and staring up at his grinning, overly-protective big brother, Edmund Randall Pevensie was torn between two fierce struggles: Crying or screaming.
And, this time, both options seemed very appealing.
"Love and Faithfulness keep a king safe; through love his throne is made secure." Proverbs 20:28 NIV
A/N: Ha! I managed to write another story because today it snowed all day! No work! No school!
This one was quite sloppy, compared to my other two stories, especially in the part where Edmund was waking up. Feel free to tear that bit to shreds, if you want. I shan't disagree with you.
As always, piping- hot cookies for those who drop a review, give a critique, or leave a random comment. "Good", "Bad", and "Downright Awful" are all acceptable remarks. ^_^
Have a happy Inauguration Day!
Mawkish- sentimental in a sickly way
Melee- confused fight or scuffle
Scimitar- short curved sword
Ennui- boredom (pronounced onwee)