Disclaimer: Let it be noted for this and all following chapters, I do not own and will not profit from these drabbles.
Whumptober Prompt 1: Hanging
(albeit a slightly different interpretation than most)
WARNING: I'm rating this a T for a reason; most of this will have violence, more violence than I usually write.
Less serious warning: This scenario is possible but unlikely, so you could justifiably call it AU.
Galma was boring. No, that was an understatement, Peter decided. Galma was the unceasing and tedious repetition of late mornings with no exercise, the same small complements over light lunches, the same hours of dressing and waiting for the banquet, and the the ultimate tedium: the eight-courses of food so rich a mouthful sufficed, and conversations made by people so scared of offending they said nothing of value.
Peter heard a grunt and glanced over at Edmund. His younger brother was rearranging his legs so he could hang them over one side of the luxurious orange chair, resting his head on the other arm. Peter raised his eyebrows in his best imitation of Susan and asked, "Something bothering you?"
"You could always follow Lucy's example."
"What, ask our charming hosts to explore—alone—the village on the base of the double-tiered mountain outside our window, and vanish before either of us find out?" Edmund yawned. "I just might. That's been the most exciting event of the week. And hanging out with the villagers sometime might be quite exciting in comparison to the cloying, honey-like company here."
"The excitement will be on our return to Narnia, when Oreius finds out Lucy went somewhere alone."
"True. Did the ambassador say why he didn't want the General along, other than his intimidating, looming presence?"
"Oh, something about his appearance scaring some of the more simple, superstitious people here. You know, I've almost missed his lectures. I'm tempted to let him believe we let Lucy go alone."
That caught Peter's attention. "We didn't?" Edmund gave him a shark-like grin, broad and wide and full of teeth.
"I might have assigned one of Robin's children to follow her. He'll blend right in with the locals."
"Well done, Ed." Edmund shrugged and went back to playing with the book on his lap. He'd read it twice in the past week. It was one of the few things he could do in the hours before banquets without messing up his clothes.
"Something on your mind?" Peter asked when Edmund didn't open it to read. Peter felt slightly guilty for hoping there was. Is Man a Myth was quite diverting the first read, but rather prosaic and just entirely wrong by the third, and Edmund refused to lend Peter any of his other books till Edmund had read them first.
"No, just boredom. I say, Peter, do you think by the time we leave they'll have got over mincing words around us?"
"King Peter! King Edmund! KING PETER! KING EDMUND!" The high voice grew louder and louder, coming from outside, and as both Kings turned that direction a Robin flashed into view, pecking the glass and beating its wings furiously. Both boys scrambled toward the window first, Edmund falling out of his chair with a thump. Peter got to the window first by far, unlatching it and shoving his blue-clad arm out for the Robin to land, trying not to smile at the cute way it hopped up and down.
"What is it, cousin?"
"It's Queen Lucy!" Peter could feel the Robin shaking, the tiny claws clenching his arm tight enough to prick through the skin, and he lost all desire to laugh at the tiny bird.
"What about her?" came the sharp question from behind him.
"The villagers were sick, Your Majesty, and Queen Lucy went to help-"
"Is she sick?" Peter questioned, nodding at Edmund and then at Edmund's black boots. Edmund went to put them on at once, buckling his sword around his waist and setting his circlet on his head.
"No, only some of them were so ill the healers had given up. But Queen Lucy didn't give up, and she had her cordial on her, and she used it." Peter gently picked up the bird and transferred it to Edmund's arm, leaning down to scoop up his own boots, still listening hard.
"And the sick were made better, of course." The Robin nodded, and Edmund frowned. "I'm not seeing the problem?"
"They were terrified, Your Majesty! Generations, they've told children horror stories of the Witches of Narnia, and now they think Queen Lucy's one!"
Peter froze, a chill as cold as the White Witch's winter freezing his heart. Lucy had her dagger, but that was all, and if the whole village arrayed itself against her, it would be hopeless.
He could see his sister falling under the clubs and fists of an angry mob, see her small for falling, and see—
No. By Aslan, this would not happen. He grabbed his own sword, on his feet and running for the door, Edmund a step behind. They'd seen the stables, and they ran for it, jumping down the small stairs, through the large drafty room, out the door. Six horses were saddled and waiting, for a party Peter didn't care about, and he grabbed the largest one, swinging himself up into the saddle with on move, digging his heels in to get it moving. He had to get to Lucy, before—before.
Hoofbeats behind him, but his gaze stayed fixed ahead, guiding the horse through the streets and around the people looking up with open mouths. The leather of the reins wrapped tight around his clenched fingers, and he could feel the horse stretch itself out, glad to run. They were running to Lucy.
Out of the sea-side town, towards the mountain, a brief walk, they'd said, and the horse was running. Panting now. Edmund's horse pulled up beside him, his brother as white-faced as a corpse would be—as Lucy would be, if—
How long did it take to beat a little girl to death?
There, the first houses? But in front of them—off a branching path—there, a crowd! Gathered around a tree, for some reason. And yelling. Peter could hear their shouts above the wind, as angry as the jeers of the Fell. If they had Lucy, Lucy would be there, and if they were still yelling, she was still alive. Aslan, keep her alive. But someone was up the tree, yelling down, and Peter's whole stomach twisted, the light lunch leaping to his throat, when he realised a rope hung from the tree branch, and his sister's little body hung from the rope.
"No!" The yell tore itself from his throat, his sword suddenly in his hand, and he rode forward, rode, straight into the mob. The people scattered from in front of him, but his eyes stayed fixed on that small body, feet still kicking, eyes bulging, not breathing. He jerked the reins back, dropping them, reaching for his sister while his other hand swung the sword through the hanging rope. He pulled her to his body, knowing Edmund guarded their flank. He reached up to pull away the noose. To let her breathe. And he cradled her, willing her to wake up.
Lucy's eyes opened and looked into his. In that single moment, where the entire world stilled, he thanked Aslan for her life.
Then he spun, Edmund still at his side, and he kicked the horse back into running. The jeers turned into shouts, but the single horse in the clearing hadn't been saddled, and Peter almost hoped they attacked. A part of him burned, needing to pull the cruel Sons of Adam close and strangle their throats with his hands, for daring to strangle the one who healed them. But Lucy sat before him, and she'd buried her head on his shoulder, her hands clutching around him, and she was probably crying, and that—that was his duty for now.
There would be time for other things later.
A/N: So, I've been discovering areas that I have little or no skill in writing, and angst was one of them. The best way to get better is practice, I think, as well as reading it. I do not think I'll be participating in every day of October (especially not weekends), but this is me attempting to learn. So, if you have either 1. constructive criticism (or encouragement, that would be nice as well), or,
2. A character or fandom that you would like to see in pain, leave a review or send a PM! I will write for a fandom as long as I'm familiar with it, and while I don't know all of them, it might be worth a chance asking.