"One day, you will be old enough to start reading Fairy tales again..."
She winced as she was pushed forward, Edmund's chest pressed firm to her back and Susan's long hair slapping her in the face. "Stop it, stop!" She cried, planting her feet firmly, her voice suddenly sounding much younger than it had just moments before and suddenly the world seemed much bigger now as well. "I won't go any further, I don't want to go back!" Back. Where were they going back too? The Spare Oom. The Wardrobe. Memories from so long ago came rushing back like a splash of cold water to the face. Peter stopped and Susan grunted as she ran straight into the eldest's back. Edmund froze as well, a steady hand on his younger sister's shoulder. "I want to go back. Peter, please. I don't want to return to that house. Can't we stay here?" The youngest of the Pevensies' had the distinct feeling that they wouldn't be returning to Narnia if they continued on.
Peter hesitated, blue eyes training on his youngest sister's round face. He too had the distinct feeling that they would not return for many a year. His eyes moved beyond her to Edmund, seeking his council. The youngest King frowned at his brother, grip tightening on Lucy's shoulders. "It's already so much colder." The young king spoke warily, referring to the chill that was coming from the light just beyond the wardrobe, past the fur coats and wooden doors. "Would it be so wrong to stay longer?" He asked.
"Wrong, no, but not possible either." A deep, terrible, wonderful voice rumbled from behind them as Lucy's face lit up with glee.
"Aslan!" She cried, spinning around Edmund with practiced ease and launching herself at the Great Lion. Aslan rumbled with fondness, a heavy paw wrapping around her as she burrowed her face into his thick mane. "You're here. You came back. I was so very worried I would never see you again," the young girl said sadly into his neck.
"I am here, Dear-heart." The lion rumbled and a shiver ran through all four children. His voice was just as she remembered, dangerous and frightening and yet soothing and warm all the same. Oh, how she had missed him. "And I you," he rumbled again, reminding the girl that Aslan did always seem to be able to tell her thoughts. The lion's head lifted and paw slapped back to the grassy earth. "Your time here in Narnia is up, for now," he told them gravely, "you have lead your people wonderfully, honorably. You have lived your lives as magnificently as any King or Queen ever has. But," he continued on, "you have another world that requires your attention and your presence."
Lucy hesitated, delicate fingers still pressed firm to the Lion's mane. "But, Aslan. We don't want to go back..." she whispered sadly. Aslan rumbled in understanding. "It's so cold there, and sad. So very sad." Her blue eyes fell shut and she once more pressed her face to his mane for comfort, Edmund and Peter coming to stand before the lion, Susan lingering between the firs and the furs.
"I know, dear-one, I know. But it is necessary, and I will always be with you." The lion turned his focus now to the Kings. "You must learn me by another name in your world," the Lion's lips pulled back in a kind smile. "Well, in your other world," for he too knew that their true world, their home, was the lands on which they now stood. "You must keep your wits and your strength, keep up your training, and one day you will be called home again." Peter nodded his head, lips pressed tight together and eyes filled with sorrow. Edmund bowed his head in understanding, though his hands were balled into fists and red rising from his chest to his cheeks and over to his ears, the only display of his upset to those who did not know him. "You will return," Aslan promised, turning his massive head to nuzzle the small girl affectionately. "When Narnia needs you again, you will return and be home once more." He told the girl softly before moving closer to the brothers, his hot breath ghosting over them, replenishing their youth fully and immediately they relaxed, faces softening. And then his yellow eyes turned to Susan who looked uncertainly at the lion who only rumbled kindly. "Even you, Susan Pevensie, are destined to return one day. All four of you are welcome here, so long as it is what you wish and believe." The girl smiled sadly at him in return. "Now go," he instructed, leading Lucy just a bit further to the furs, Peter and Edmund at his sides until the reached Susan, "and remember." His eyes now turned to Lucy for it was she, he feared, who would need him most. "I am always here," he said kindly, nose brushing her chest, "I am everywhere you are, always. You only need but call to me, and I will always answer." The young girl's face was scrunched up horribly, cheeks red and wet and she hiccupped wildly before ensnaring him in another tight hug which the lion willingly reciprocated. "Be well, Dear-heart." He spoke one last time before Susan moved on, moving beyond the firs and back into the Spare Room. Edmund hesitated one last time, looking from Aslan to the kingdoms in which he helped to rule. He breathed in the crisp, clean air one final time before he too moved on.
Peter kneeled before his youngest sister, cupping her face tenderly in his hands and pressed his lips affectionately to her temple. "C'mon, Lu. The sooner we go, the sooner we might return," he told her wisely, before rising back up, lifting her with him, her head cushioned on his shoulder, and she watched as Aslan and her home faded into the distance before vanishing into darkness, the mighty firs blending together as the portal closed, revealing nothing more than the back of the dark Wardrobe.
"Oh my," the Professor's voice rose up as he entered the room, "why, what a sad bunch of kids." He mused idly. "Fear not, dear children, for once a King or Queen of Narnia, always a King or Queen of Narnia," and he gave them a knowing smile, before turning on his heels and leaving the room once more, leaving the Pevensie's to their thoughts.
It took several minutes of morose silence before Edmund finally spoke up. "How long," he whispered sadly, "how long will it take before we go back?"
"Oh, come off it." Susan sighed, straightening herself up and dusting her skirt off. "We'll go back if they need us. But it's best we forget about it. This isn't a fairytale anymore. We have school and lives to get back to. The sooner we remember that and forget about that place, the sooner we can move on and be happy." And then she left, skirt swishing as she walked and the door clicking shut rather heavily after her.
Lucy's grip on Peter's shoulders simply tightened. "Do we have to," she whispered, "do we have to forget, Peter?" Her brother simply shook his head, blonde locks brushing against her temple gently.
"No, you heard Aslan. We remember," he said, voice firm and sure, a fragment of his years as High King. "We train and we study and we remember, and when we need him –" he looked to Edmund, then to the Wardrobe, "when we need him, we call to him. And when he needs us, he will bring us home." He set Lucy back on her feet, taking her hand instead and casting her a kind smile as Edmund sidled up on her other side and grasped her other hand. "Susan can do as she likes, but we three will remember and do as Aslan asked. For Narnia."
"For Narnia," Edmund confirmed, nodding firmly at his brother.
"For Aslan," Lucy agreed softly, allowing her brothers to lead her from the room.